With about ten games left in the NBA’s lockout shortened regular season, it’s time to consider awards.

In college basketball there is something called the Most Outstanding Player Award, (MOP), given out at the conclusion of the Final Four.  MOP awards somehow seem much fairer to me than MVP awards.  Great players are recognized for their greatness and exceptional play as well as their valuable contributions to their teams.

Kevin Love

The NBA needs an MOP award.  Unfortunately, the NBA’s most prestigious award is the MVP award, which almost always skews toward someone who is leading one of the league’s top two or three teams, regardless whether that player is actually the NBA’s most outstanding.

Too often guys having outstanding seasons, but who just happen to be trapped on a mediocre or worse team, wrongly have their achievements overlooked.

Where is the love for a player who is lighting it up for say, a team like the Minnesota Timberwolves?

Minnesota hasn’t been relevant since Kevin Garnett’s lone MVP season 8 years ago, which was ironically the only season the Wolves won a playoff series, after seven straight years of losing in the first round.

But there is another guy currently playing in the land of the lakes who is having a tough time getting his just due, because his version of the Minnesota Timberwolves, is much worse than Garnett’s T-Wolves.

That guy is Kevin Love, who is simply the league’s most outstanding player this season.  Please note I did not say the most spectacular player; Blake Griffin owns that meaningless honor, and I didn’t say the most valuable player, who will either be LeBron James or Kevin Durant.

Let me repeat, I am saying that this season, Kevin Love is the NBA’s most outstanding player.  Period.  And it shouldn’t be close.  Love’s numbers speak for themselves.

Except for that unfortunate incident, earlier this year, when he was suspended a couple of games, for stepping on the face of Houston’s Luis Scola; Kevin Love has played remarkably, if not spectacularly.  He has had to do even more for the T-Wolves because of the season ending injury to rookie standout point guard Ricky Rubio.

For those who don’t know, and I’m sure there are many of you who don’t, since Minnesota doesn’t get much Sportscenter  time, Kevin Love is averaging over 26 points per game and is pulling down 13 rebounds each night as well.  Those are superstar, MOP, caliber numbers in any NBA era.

Let me also add that Love is now one of the NBA’s most deadly three point shooters. While the 6’10” power forward won the three-point shooting contest during All Star Weekend, his regular season three-point shooting has been something that even legendary old-school sharpshooters, Larry Bird and Reggie Miller, admire.

And last year Love recorded 53 consecutive double, doubles, the best in the NBA since the NBA/ABA merger.   That’s double figure scoring and double figure rebounding.  But because he played on a Timberwolves team much worse than this year’s edition, he was passed over for consideration as the league’s top power forward, and may be passed over for first team All Pro recognition again this year.  And that’s too bad.

Because if ever there was an NBA player to love, it’s Kevin Love.



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