Just an FYI, this is going to be a very short sighted post because I don't have the time to research stats, but all of this is simply from observation/memory.
What's up Hoopus community? Been awhile since my last post being busy with college stuff and all that jazz. I did find time to fit in our Pelican pounding tonight, and Kevin Love was just awful. Another 4/18 night or something like that to go with less than 10 rebounds. Not to mention that thumb injury (x-rays are negative, I thought he broke his hand again). I know his hand isn't 100% to begin with, but there's more to his struggles than that.
(Something we've seen too many times this season)
The "dissatisfaction" with the organization doesn't seem to have phased the team, but you can clearly see Love's poor body language and hustle on the court. He's taking the fact that Kahn didn't offer him a max deal very personally. There were some valid points made by many pundits and writers around the league, specifically that Love didn't deserve it because of A) Ricky Rubio needs to get paid, and B) He would have led the team to the playoffs already if he was a true franchise player.
Consistently the last one to cross half-court in transition, Love focuses too much on trying to bargain a non call with the refs. He has never looked so upset on a basketball court before tonight. Every other player out there is working 110% and Love is just giving 80%. It's understandable he is frustrated by his poor shooting, but he has to realize he will get out of that slump of a career low 36% from the field soon enough. I would omit the fact he had a jump shot blocked by Anthony Davis, but he was right in Love's face before he took that shot. If NBA Countdown had a "C'mon Man!" segment, this would be the first play they show.
While all this is going on you have Andrei Kirilenko running the floor in all facets of the game. Pek is starting to finish around the rim, and his confidence is probably pretty high after that 14/18 night with a career high 31 points. The role players for the team are playing above expectations. Most people probably didn't anticipate Alexey Shved to be this good, but I was in awe the moment I watched his Euroleague highlights and the Olympics. Luke Ridnour is playing at a quality veteran level. Dante Cunningham and JJ Barea, like Kirilenko, are all about hustle. Everyone of these guys outhustled Love and put in way more effort tonight. Tom Hanneman said that if this game took place a year ago we lose that game, but we hung in there for the win because of the relentlessness of this AK-47 led squad. This team outran, outstrengthed, and just straight up bullied this physically tough and much more athletic New Orleans team (their poor record isn't properly reflected by their effort and coaching).
Coach Adelman has this team going on all cylinders, and with Ricky Rubio's much anticipated return Saturday night the team only gains more energy and momentum. His return also couldn't have come at a better time with Love and Josh Howard (who also gave a good effort) getting hurt again tonight. Don't get me wrong I still love Love, but this team has proven to be function, and more importantly competitive, without his presence. A couple of my friends believe he will be traded this season, but there is still plenty of basketball to be played and a fully loaded lineup yet to be seen. With all that I have put out in this post, do you guys believe it's now fair to question Love's value to his team?