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Kevin Love says he is the best power forward in the game

Jan 9, 2012, 5:12 PM EDT

Kevin Love, Tim Duncan AP

Kevin Love is a pretty special player. A double-double machine who on offense has smooth moves around the rim to go with shooting range out to the three-point line. He’s as good a rebounder as there is in the game.

So mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the best power forward of them all? (If by all you mean active players. And today the roll of the mirror will be played by Kevin Love in an interview on ESPN 1500.)

I believe I’m the best ‘4’ in the league. I think you have to believe that you’re the best. I think Mohammad Ali even said, ‘I was the greatest before I knew I was.’ I think everybody needs to have that mindset. That’s part of winning the mind game from the very start. You have to believe it. You have to hold yourself accountable.

He’s right, that should be his mindset. But is he the best? Not in my book.

Here’s my top five list for this season. And to keep it simple I’m going to put Kevin Durant and LeBron James at the three so we don’t count them. Veteran honorable mention go to Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan.

5. Blake Griffin (Clippers). He’s just scratching the surface of how good he can be, especially on defense, and he is starting to show it with a better midrange game to go with his high-flying dunks.

4. Pau Gasol (Lakers). Still the guy with best footwork and fundamentals around the basket, a deft passer, a solid midrange game and a better defender than he gets credit for. Plus, he has those rings.

3. Kevin Love (Timberwolves). Offensively he’s a force, but he needs to defend better to move up the list.

2. Dirk Nowitzki (Mavericks). It’s almost unfair because he breaks the mold of a power forward, he is deadly from three but he can work from the post. The best pure shooter ever to play the position.

1. LaMarcus Aldridge. This season he has been the best when you consider leading your team at both ends of the floor — 22.7 points per game, 7.6 rebounds and a key part of the Blazers defense. On a Blazers team looking for guys to step up, he has.

  1. lunt101 - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    Wow, LA #1…. That’s a statement. And one I’m not sure I can agree with.

    • Mostdiggity - Jan 9, 2012 at 9:53 PM

      and I’ll take Demarcus Cousins with all his baggage of KL if we’re talking ceiling.

    • wlubake - Jan 10, 2012 at 10:47 AM

      Dirk couldn’t respond to Love’s comments because he was too busy meeting the President to celebrate his NBA championship and Finals MVP.

      I get the whole “Aldridge is playing the best right now” angle, but here’s a question: You have to win a game tonight, and can only choose 1 PF to plug into your lineup – who do you choose? You choose the toughest man to guard in the NBA, Dirk.

      I’ll admit that watching Aldridge play in the playoffs versus Dallas last year, I was very impressed. He might be my #2 guy after Dirk. Not enough people get to watch him play, but he was dominant in that series.

  2. khadeemw - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    What about Amare Stoudemire? No disrespect to Kevin Love, but compiling stats in a losing effort has always been frowned upon in the NBA. What’s the exception now. I would still take Chris Bosh, Pau Gasol, Amare Stoudemire, Zach Randolph, and even Josh Smith over Kevin Love. Kevin Love is really good but he is not worth a max contract.

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 9, 2012 at 7:17 PM

      Zach is worthy of consideration, but the lack of defense thing bothers me. Amare I had just missing out too. Actually, lots of good PFs around the league.

      • khadeemw - Jan 9, 2012 at 9:59 PM

        Kevin Love isnt really a defensive stud either. Zach Randolph and Love are virtually equals. Love has a little more range and Randolph is better on the block.

    • goforthanddie - Jan 9, 2012 at 9:31 PM

      What about him?

      • makjak2 - Jan 9, 2012 at 10:59 PM

        When Amare was putting up 25+ a game and carrying a team pre-Melo he was getting mvp looks, and now we scoff when someone suggests he’s a top 5 PF? It’s hard to argue with those names but let’s not completely dismiss him.

  3. willardj - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:29 PM

    Aldridge is good, but he is not dominant offensively.

    I’d take Amare over him because of his dominant offensive game. I’d also take Griffin over him.

  4. houlios1 - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    Aldridge better than KL? I’m sorry, you might FEEL that way, but there’s no actual evidence to back that claim up. We are talking the best power forward in the league. Love DOUBLES Aldridge’s rebounds and scores +2 ppg more!

    Simply silly.

    • kinggw - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:39 PM

      Aldridge is better than Kevin Love. And he actually has a post game. Who cares if you put up 20/20 every night if your team never wins. Love puts up numbers but he doesnt defend and his stats dont translate to wins for the T-Wolves.

      • dirtydavis - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:41 PM

        Who cares if you put up 20/20 a game???? What planet are you from, man?

      • goforthanddie - Jan 9, 2012 at 9:34 PM

        You do realize there are FIVE players on the court at a time? You do realize Love is used to having a pothead as a second option?
        Apparently not.

  5. dirtydavis - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    K-Love is right!!! Can anyone please prove his bold statement wrong? I mean with actual evidence

    • mwilltru15 - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:51 PM

      Actual evidence? Use “Wins Produced” and he is the best. Here is the comparison:

      Wins produced is a tool developed to analyze players’ performances. You can see the comparison for the five players listed above.

      • Kurt Helin - Jan 9, 2012 at 7:16 PM

        Wins Produced has advantages, but digging in too deep on that kind of metric after 10 games or less has sample size issues.

  6. SuckForLuck - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:40 PM

    Bosh not in the top 5?

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 9, 2012 at 7:16 PM

      Struggled with that one.

    • goforthanddie - Jan 9, 2012 at 9:36 PM

      It’s not his fault. He’s top-5 when allowed to play.

  7. gooterbaby - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:46 PM

    Last time I checked Gasol was a center and Nowitzki was a large small forward. Oh and Griffin was a slam dunk specialist and who is this Aldridge guy? Bottom line none of the other players on your list can rebound like Love and only Dirk can shoot the 3 like him….best all-around power forward.

    • mytthor - Jan 9, 2012 at 11:47 PM

      Then you need to check again, because Gasol and Nowitzki both play the four. Love is good but part of the reason he rebounds so well is he doesn’t play with any other good rebounders and he isn’t concerned with playing any kind of defense. You can’t call someone the best all-around anything if they don’t play half the game.

  8. raidmagic - Jan 9, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    He is right. You might make a case for Dirk but if I’m drafting a team for the next five years I’ll take Love over any 4 in the league

  9. keyshawn22 - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:00 PM

    Other than Dirk K-love is the best in the game right now. I like Aldridge but give me love over him any day…

    Pau??? That must have been a bad attempt at a joke

  10. SmackSaw - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:07 PM

    Griffin’s a beast. I’ll take him over the others. Head to head around the rim he’ll destroy them.

  11. seanb20124 - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Bit ambitious of a statement.

  12. trueloyalt - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:26 PM

    It’s a tough argument to declare that one is best at their postion when their team has only won 35 out of their last 169 games. Kevin is a great rebounder, however, raw data can at times be deceptive.

  13. isujames - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    i want some of that sh*t he smoking lol.

    • tampajoey - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:32 PM

      I gave you a thumbs up, but I want it back if your screen name is a shout out to Lebron lol

  14. Justin - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:37 PM

    I think he is trying to say that he has the confidence in his game. This is just far too hard to compare. It is like the “Best Player of All Time” debate. The biggest problem is that so many people look at just offensive stats because those are the easiest to track. Obviously Love is set there but it is hard to gauge completely the defensive side of the game. If you really wanted you could go even deeper and talk about what the player does when he isn’t touching the ball offensively (setting screens, boxing out and just generally moving without the ball). He defenately needs to take that next step defensively. Regardless, can we just call him an All Star and be ok with that?

  15. jerseyfinatic - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:39 PM

    Surprised amare isn’t on this list.

    • therealhtj - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:50 PM

      Don’t be. He doesn’t belong on it.

  16. acdc363 - Jan 9, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    I agree with Kevin Love

  17. rj88888 - Jan 9, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    Kevin can’t be serious, Blake is the best #4 in the NBA.

    • cjpunk15 - Jan 16, 2012 at 4:18 AM

      Kevin can’t be serious, Blake is the best #4 in the NBA.. I hope your not serious… Blake Griffin’s jump shot is average at best… Griffin is the most exciting 4 in the league maybe but Griffin is far from being as complete Love. With that said Love know’s Dirk and Gasol are PF right… Love isn’t even the best PF in the Western conference… What a clown.

  18. edwardemanuelson - Jan 9, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    It’s appropriate that he’s pictured running ahead of the greatest power forward of all time.

  19. mojosmagic - Jan 9, 2012 at 9:24 PM

    Why say anything?

  20. Zwill - Jan 9, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    Not sure how you can put Aldridge above Love. What does LMA do better than KL? Love is obviously a far better rebounder, either by percentage or raw RPG, and the gap is pretty wide. Love is a marginally better shooter when you consider the value of his three pointers (better eFG this year and last year). Neither is a terribly good defender but Love is at least able to stay out of foul trouble and clean the glass. The only advantage I can find for LMA is that he happens to have much better teammates and one of the league’s best coaches, whereas Love has had to excel while playing with Darko and Beasley.

    • Kurt Helin - Jan 10, 2012 at 1:55 PM

      Aldridge is a much better defender than Love. Watch Love’s help rotations, when he does them. He’s better this season, but he does not give up rebounding position to help. Guys in his own locker room call him selfish. Plus, LMA has really stepped up his leadership role on a team that is winning.

    • xeno75 - Jan 11, 2012 at 4:25 PM

      So you think KLove having worse teammates doesn’t help him bolster his stats?

      • bighurc89 - Jan 11, 2012 at 5:32 PM

        If your teammates are worse, doesn’t that give you a disadvantage? Then the other team can double you if you’re the best shooter and work away from you if you’re the best defender, & lastly, box you out with two people if you’re the best rebounder. Face it, he IS THE BEST PF in the league RIGHT NOW. Pau had his day, Amare’ had his day, Tim Duncan is possibly the best ever at this point, & Blake Griffin can dunk. Shoot a consistent jumper before you jump into the discussion of best at your position.

  21. hushbrother - Jan 9, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Kevin Lovestotalk is a glib fellow. But the best players are usually the ones who let their actions on the court speak for themselves.

  22. cap1378 - Jan 9, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    1. Dirk. 2. Amare 3. Blake 4. Love 5. Bosh. Pau is center

  23. kirschmania - Jan 9, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    Charles Barkley thinks he is too…

  24. cap1378 - Jan 9, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    Lamarcus Aldridge ?? How much did you smoke before you wrote this article?

  25. metalhead65 - Jan 9, 2012 at 10:55 PM

    just shows he has confidence in his game and there is nothing wrong in that. I think it is impressive that he does it night after night knowing it is all for nothing since before this year his team was going to lose no matter what he did.

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