Admit it. You didnâ€™t see this coming. But how could you? How could anyone for that matter?
Minnesota Timberwolves starting power forward Kevin Love is doing things statistically not seen in the NBA for decades. Every night his final stat line evokes amazement while yet with his terminator-like focus and consistency not surprising the least of us.
On the heels of a 40-point, 19-rebound gem Wednesday night against the lowly Bobcats, Love has accumulated an incredible 469 points and 211 rebounds during the month of March.
And in the midst of this current March onslaught heâ€™s sprinkled in a 42-point, 10-rebound outing against the Trail Blazers where he buried 5 three-balls while shooting 56% from the field, a dominant 39-point, 17-rebound game in a 95-94 win over Blake Griffin and the Clippers and a 51-point, 14-rebound night in a battle for the ages against the OKC Thunder.
Putting those gaudy March totals into perspective, over the last 15 NBA seasons only Shaquille Oâ€™Neal has combined for more points and rebounds in a month, racking up 499 points and 218 rebounds for the Los Angeles Lakers back in March of 2001.
Amazingly by Friday nightâ€™s end Love could even surpass big Shaq as the Wolves get set to face the rebounding-challenged Boston Celtics at home.
Consequently, perspective being the operative word here, itâ€™s necessary to take a closer look at Loveâ€™s incredible statistical exploits during the month of March.
This past Sunday, March 25th, Love scored 30 points and grabbed 21 rebounds in a 117-100 win over Ty Lawson and the visiting Denver Nuggets.
Ho, hum you say, right? Weâ€™ve seen him do that before.
Well as ho hum as those impressive numbers have become for the dominant Love of late, it was remarkably the seventh such 30-20 game of his short four-year NBA career.
Even greats Larry Bird, Karl Malone and David Robinson did it just five times each, respectively and big bad Blake Griffin has yet to notch a single 30-20 game in the league.
But how Love is able to get those points and rebounds may be even more impressive than the final statistical marvels he puts up every night.
No player in our NBA today, maybe ever, has represented such a stark contrast in terms of rebounding know-how and dead-eye perimeter shooting as does Love.
Generally players are either bangers or shooters. Defenders, scorers or glue-guys. But rarely do you find such a unique combination of skill and physicality in one player.
In terms of fantasy it is that same aforementioned combination of skill and physicality that makes Love so unbelievably valuable for your team.
Not many power forwards considered all-World rebounders can step out and consistently knock down the three-ball and with Love you get both. He has been even better than usual in March giving lucky, I mean smart fantasy owners 3.1 threes per game.
And no thatâ€™s not 3.1 attempts per contest, that would be 3.1 made threes from behind the arc every time he laces them up.
This past Friday night the former UCLA Bruin went ballistic in a 140-149 double-overtime loss to Kevin Durantâ€™s Thunder in which the NBAâ€™s current 3-point Champion shot 7-of-11 from deep, finishing up with a game-high 51points on 16-of-27 shooting overall while grabbing 14 rebounds and adding a steal and a blocked shot for good measure.
Who does that?
Who scores 51 points in a game, gives you 7 threes and grabs 14 rebounds while shooting 59% from the floor?
Nobody. At least not anyone else we can think of in our beloved NBA today.
Those type numbers are reserved for one Kevin Love these days and although we may not see a fifty-spot out of him again anytime soon, the 20-point 15-rebound games are beginning to look like childâ€™s play.
In fact his monthly averages heading into Friday nightâ€™s affair with the Boston Celtics stand at 31.3 points, 14.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 0.7 steals per game on 47.4% field goal shooting. And as previously mentioned Love is knocking down an average of 3.1 threes per contest while shooting 45.1% from that range and 78% from the charity stripe.
Incredible. Even more incredible are his unreal averages over the Timberwolves last five games which stand at 33.2 points, 15.4 rebounds, 3.4 threes and 2.4 assists on 50% shooting from the floor, 51.5% shooting from three-point range while adding 1.2 steals and 1.6 blocks per game.
And you thought it couldnâ€™t get any better. Kind of seems unfair doesnâ€™t it? That is if you werenâ€™t one of the oh so lucky ones to have picked him up in your draft this fantasy season.
Forty-four double-doubles and counting Kevin Love has quickly become the standard when it comes to power forwards in the Association today whether that be fantasy or reality.
And if the month of March is any indication his numbers and reputation may ultimately reach an even higher scale.
Determined to garner the same recognition bestowed upon his peers who marshal their teams into the NBA postseason, Loveâ€™s tallest order stands in carrying his Wolves over that psychological hump of team success.
But for now as witnesses to a player with throwback grit and uncanny skill, we eagerly anticipate his next outrageous statistical gem.
Call me Captain Obvious here, but Iâ€™m fairly certain this wonâ€™t be the last necessary superlative-laced endorsement of Kevin Loveâ€™s fantasy prowess.
Especially with April right around the corner.