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Updated: July 18th, 2014 1:27pm
Mackey: A negative notion about Kevin Love that needs to be squashed

Mackey: A negative notion about Kevin Love that needs to be squashed

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by Phil Mackey

Kevin Love has not exactly endeared himself to Minnesota Timberwolves fans over the past few months, but there's a negative notion about him floating around that needs to be squashed.

ESPN's Chad Ford talked to 12 anonymous front office executives at the NBA Summer League this week to ask them one simple question: Would you trade Andrew Wiggins for Kevin Love?

Now, take these anonymous responses for what they're worth. Unless the anonymous front office executive is Cavs GM David Griffin or owner Dan Gilbert, the quotes are just noise. But I digress.

Ford found five front office types who said they'd trade for Love and seven who said they'd hold onto Wiggins, including this one:

"Love is so overrated. He's never won," one NBA executive told Ford. "I'd wait if I was Cleveland. I wouldn't involve Wiggins in a trade for Love."

It's entirely possible Love is "so overrated," depending on what your perception is. Yes, he's one of the most unique and productive offensive big men in NBA history, and yes, he's perhaps the best rebounder in the NBA today. He also has deficiencies, namely his inability (and unwillingness?) to protect the rim and his questionable leadership skills. Love has always seemed more likely to point at the problem rather than be the guy who tries to fix it.

But to say Love is "overrated" because he has "never won" is to ignore everything logical.

Take "Player A" for example. Player A was a five-time All-Star in a northern, mid-market NBA city who averaged 20 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists 1.2 blocks and had one of the best Player Efficiency Ratings (PER) in the NBA through the age of 25. Unfortunately, Player A's teams were mostly horrible, finishing with 24, 33 33, 27, 47, 41, 33 and 40 wins in the inferior Eastern Conference. Yes, they did make the playoffs twice, but they failed to advance out of the first round.

Player A is Chris Bosh, who joined LeBron James in Miami for two titles and four straight trips to the NBA Finals.

Bosh "never won" in Toronto. He won a lot in Miami. He was a perfect sidekick to LeBron and Dwyane Wade.

Think of an NBA roster as 12 glasses of water, each filled to various volumes bases on how good each player is. More water in the glass = more value to his team. J.J. Barea might have a splash of water in his glass. Corey Brewer perhaps two splashes. In Toronto, Bosh had the most water in his glass, but when he took his glass down to Miami he met two players with water overflowing from their glasses - Wade and LeBron. The same scenario would hold true with Love.

People focusing on the fact that Love "has never won" are missing the entire point. Love adds positive value to any team. He is the first, second or third best player on any current NBA roster. If Love played zero games last season, the Wolves would have won 25 games instead of 40. It's all relative.

Just like if the Wolves were to replace Love with LeBron, maybe they win 50 games instead of 40.

No, Love has "never won" - at least, not in the playoffs. But neither has Wiggins.

LeBron James is 30 years old. Wiggins is 19. It's entirely possible Wiggins is destined to become one of the best players in the NBA, but what if it takes two or three years? What if LeBron is 33 by the time Wiggins comes around? Hell, LeBron isn't even under contract that long. Love is 25 years old, in his prime right now. 

Cleveland has a chance to put together a top young point guard who can create offense on his own, an elite big man who rebounds and shoots threes, and LeBron James - all currently in their primes.

This is a no-brainer, Cleveland. Regardless of whether or not Love has "never won." 

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd