The MVP award has a misleading name, because it goes to the best player in the regular season most of the time. Kevin Love isn’t the number one guy in the league, but if you’re trying to be accurate with the definition, it’s hard to argue against his validity.
So who will win the MVP? Probably Kevin Durant, with LeBron James having an outside chance. Who else should be in the debate? LaMarcus Aldridge, Paul George, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Stephen Curry, Carmelo Anthony. But those are just there to fill the lists and the rankings. It’s going to come between Durant and James, with Durant currently holding the edge but losing momentum in the last few weeks.
And where does Love fit in? Maybe one of the top 5 players in the league this season. He’s averaging 26.6 points, 13.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists while shooting 38% from beyond the arc. He has six consecutive games of 30-10 and has missed out on a double double only once since January. Sure, his defense is close to atrocious at times, but no one is perfect, right?
Another thing about the MVP award is that it always goes to a player on a team that seems to have a shot in the playoffs. The Timberwolves? They won’t make the postseason, so that definitely makes Love a less than elite player? Not necessarily. When it comes to Most Valuable Player, the interpretation is quite elusive. It pretty much means how important this guy is to a team, and how far will they fall without him. The Timberwolves were awful last season without Love, and they’re good, just not great, in a tough Western conference this year.
The Heat have been able to look competitive without LeBron James this season. The Blazers are doing well without Aldridge at the moment. The Clippers have looked very good without Chris Paul. The Knicks? That’s a mess that’s almost impossible to explain.
So Love is an MVP caliber player? Depends on the definition. If it’s the best player in the league, than sadly no. He might be a lot more than a stat-stuffer, but when you want to call a player the best in the league, you want his ability to also translate into greatness. Unlike baseball, it’s impossible to give the award to someone who isn’t involved with a successful team, even though Love might be dragged down by some bad coaching, injuries to key players and his less impressive teammates.
But if it’s importance to a ball club combined with the ability to be consistent and great, at least offensively, each and every night, than Love more than fits the prerequisites for the “job” and deserves every accolade he might be getting at the end of the season. Just like players shouldn’t be defined by the championship rings they’re wearing on their fingers, being unlucky and doing great on a bad team shouldn’t pull you out of the MVP consideration.