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Updated: January 28th, 2011 10:28pm
Wessel: Regardless of vote, Kevin Love is an All-Star

Wessel: Regardless of vote, Kevin Love is an All-Star

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1500ESPN.com

Kevin Love extended his double-double streak to 32 games in Friday's 108-100 loss to the Utah Jazz just six days until the All-Star reserves are announced. 

Ever since Love took the New York Knicks behind-the-woodshed to the tune of 31 points and 31 rebounds, the only question he has been asked more than, 'When will the Wolves turn things around?' is 'Do you think you're an All-Star?'

With the reserves being announced next Thursday, it looks like it will come down to the wire whether Love will be one of the seven selected by the head coaches in the Western Conference.

But it shouldn't.

Love is putting up the type of gaudy numbers -- 21.6 points, league-high 15.7 rebounds -- that should make him a sure-fire lock, but there are those who diminish his accomplishments because the Wolves have only won 10 games

One school of thought is that Love's numbers are inflated due to lack of talent around him. Even on a bad team, someone has to score points and grab rebounds, right?

If that is the case, how come no one has put up the type of numbers Love has in over 25 years? There have been plenty of terrible teams but yet no one has managed to do what Love is doing, at age 22 no less.

The other contention is that, because the Wolves only have 10 wins, it somehow discredits Love from being a true All-Star. All-Stars lead their team to victories, right?

Coach Kurt Rambis discredited this theory before Wednesday's game against Oklahoma City. If anything, it makes Love's numbers even more impressive because he doesn't have the talent around him that Tim Duncan and Pau Gasol do.

Since this whole process has begun, the ever-humble Love has continued to say the right things, that it would be a tremendous honor to make it and will understand if he doesn't. But for Love -- who grew up watching VHS tapes of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson -- you can tell it means a lot more to him than he lets on. He has a deep appreciation for those who came before him and knows what it would mean to have his name written alongside theirs in All-Star lore.

But Love should not hang his head if his number isn't called next Thursday.  He is putting together a season for himself and the Wolves franchise that transcends the over-hyped, glitzy All-Star game that at the end of the day -- or in this case, when the playoff races heat up -- people will have completely forgotten about.

The numbers, as they say, don't lie.

Love is currently on pace to be the first player since Moses Malone in 1982-83 to average 20+ points and 15+ rebounds.

There have been three 30 point/20 rebound games in the NBA this season. Love has all of them.

Love is currently shooting 44.7 percent from behind the arc and can become the only player in NBA history to average 12+ rebounds and shoot better than 40 percent from downtown.

It goes on like that. In fact, when putting together stats for Love's 'Numb#rs' ad campaign, the Wolves PR staff had a hard time keeping it to one page.

Love shouldn't need the title of being an All-Star to validate his season, especially when the selection process is as faulty as it is.

Rockets center Yao Ming was voted in as a starter by the fans despite being injured and playing just five games.

Spurs forward Tim Duncan will likely get voted in by coaches despite averaging just 13.6 points and 9.5 rebounds as he limps to the barn at age 34.

But numbers aside, Love -- with help from his pal Mike Beasley -- are doing something even bigger for the Wolves franchise, they are slowly but surely making the Wolves cool again.

For nearly the first time since 'Da Kid' was "loading up the pump," people are talking about the Wolves in this town. Granted it isn't always glowing reviews, but it is a big step from the total apathy that has defined the last five years of Timberwolves basketball. 

In this story: Kevin Love, Kurt Rambis
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