FanPost

PANIC: Mayo IS better than Love (but there's nothing we can do about it anyway so don't really panic)

Over at The Daily Gopher we get annoyed by people who consistently come on harping about the same negative point over and over, but that's what I seem to be here at CH (I'm sorry) as I am perpetually frustrated with the trade for Love and the insistence by Wolves fans that Love will have a better career than Mayo.  I wanted to offer a counter post to McCleak's post where he believes Love will have a better career than Mayo. I really can move on and I'm not anti-Love, just anti-McHale for making this trade that actually made this team worse.

Of course the trade DID happen and we have no choice but to support Love and hope for the best.  I realize harping on it does no good, but neither does doing our best Ostrich impersonation and ignoring the facts.

Here is the ultimate problem with this whole trade. We had the #3 pick in the draft, with that high of a pick you absolutely should be landing an impact player and someone who has the skills and potential to be one of your two or three best players.  Someone capable of carrying your team, creating his shot in crunch time and/or locking down on defense when you absolutely need a stop.  Kevin Love is a good player but on this nor on any other team does he have the skills or potential to be a top 2 player.  Maybe a #3 option on an average team, but if the Wolves are trying to craft a championship caliber team then you used your #3 overall pick on a role player. 

OJ Mayo on the other hand has the skills and potential to be a star.  He has the skills to be a dynamic offensive player that other teams have to gameplan for and comes in as a rookie with NBA ready perimeter defensive skills. 

Below is Draft Express listed strength/weaknesses for both players coming into the draft.

Strengths
• Size • Productivity
• Strength • Strength
• Versatility • Hands
• Body control • Fundamentals
• Scoring instincts • Intensity
• Shot-creating ability w/either hand • Ability to score in the paint
• NBA 3-point range • Excellent Touch
• Catch and shoot off screens • Versatile post game
• Mid-range game • Range out to 3-point line
• Ability to pull-up sharply off the dribble • Free throw shooting
• Basketball IQ • Ball-handling skills
• Court vision • Basketball IQ
• Confidence/Swagger • Passing skills
• Ability to play multiple positions • Ability to ignite fast-breaks with outlet passes
• Perimeter defense • Rebounding instincts
• Hands in passing lanes • Winning attitude
• Work ethic • Incredibly productive
• Coachable • Very little downside
• Very productive
Weaknesses:
• Stuck between 1 and 2 • Size
• Poor shot-selection • 15-20 pounds overweight
• Low shooting percentages • Explosiveness
• Turnovers • Plays below the rim
• Reliance on outside shot • Lateral quickness
• Does not get to free throw line enough • Defensive potential
• Struggles to get by defenders • Ability to defend perimeter
• Finishing ability at rim • Upside?
• Average wingspan
• Decision making poor at times
• Year older than class

I don't even have to label the columns.  The one that lists weaknesses as lacking explosiveness, playing below the rim, lacking lateral quickness, poor defensive portentail and questions upside.  That is the guy we have on our roster.  Sure he has great passing skills and a whole list of intangibles (fundamentals, basketball IQ, winning attitude), but that takes you a lot further in NCAA than it does in the NBA.

What bothers me is that we drafted then traded a guy who has NBA ready shooting ability, perimeter defense and versatility to go along with his own list of impressive intangibles (basketball IQ, work ethic, coachable). 

A guy like Love is great to have on your team and will do a lot for the Wolves over his career.  What he will not be is someone other teams fear or gameplan for.  He will make a living off teams focusing on Jefferson and finding holes in the defense.  There is nothing wrong with this and it is useful to have on your team but WE HAD THE #3 PICK and we got a freaking role player.  Mayo on the other hand would right now be the best perimeter offensive player we have and teams would have to account for Jefferson first and Mayo second as the Wolves would have a young and dangerous 1-2 punch.  Along with the now injured Brewer that would give us two legitimate defensive players on the perimeter and two legit 20 pnt scorers.  Imagine what Foye could do as a third scoring option when teams forget about him.

The use of touches is a specious argument at best.  Mayo is getting those touches because he is capable of playing that many minutes as a rookie and has produced.  Love is also on a terrible team, why is he not getting significant minutes?  Because he isn't capable of handling them and journeymen are more reliable to Wittman (in his infinite wisdome) and are out producing him at this point.

I fail to see why being trusted with the ball, scoring 20 ppg and being compared to Allen Iverson is a bad thing.  When you have the third overall pick in the draft I'd take a rookie who has earned playing time because he CAN score and CAN play defense over a rookie who just isn't ready yet any day of the week.

Before the draft Mayo appeared to be the better player, during summer league Mayo appeared to be the better player, a month into the actual season Mayo appears to be the better player and there is no logical reason to believe that barring injuries Mayo will not have the better career.

I'm not trying to say we traded away Michael Jordan for Mark Madsen, I agree with McCleak that Love is underrated, but until actually proven otherwise I will always believe that we traded away a potential perrennial all-star for a very good role player.

I fully realize that none of this is Love's fault and I want as badly as you all do to see him succeed and be far greater than I envision he will ever be.  We all know what the problem really is (great post by the way).  Lets not try to find a specious stat to prove something that just isn't true.  Mayo is and will be the better player, it is what it is and we can move on.  Love will be fine, but next time we have a #3 pick I just hope we get a true impact player.

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