Love's game impresses Triano

RYAN WOLSTAT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:20 PM ET

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love has caught the league’s attention, including Raptors head coach Jay Triano, thanks to some incredible performances this season.

In November, Love became the first player since Moses Malone in 1982 and 19th player to record a 30-point, 30-rebound game (31-and-31). Love also has turned in a 43-and-17 gem and had run off 31 straight double-doubles heading into Saturday contest. Five more and he ties ex-Wolves superstar Kevin Garnet for the all-time record.

It is not easy for a player on a squad more than 25 games under .500 to make an all-star team, but Triano believes Love is deserving and also isn’t surprised at his level of play in 2010-11.

“Not at all,” Triano said of the player he has coached as part of the American national team.

“He’s got a great heart, a great understanding of the game (and) is as hungry going after it as anybody I’ve seen in the game in quite some time.”

Love is averaging 21.6 points and 15.7 rebounds per game and nobody has put up a 20-and-15 line since Malone did it in that 1982-83 season.

The UCLA product who is one of the best outlet passers in the league, has also added a new wrinkle to his game — dead-eye outside shooting.

He is connecting on 44.7% of his long-range attempts (sixth in the NBA) and leads the league in efficiency ranking (29.5).

Triano said he would vote for Love for the all-star game if he was allowed (he’s not, Eastern coaches can vote only for players in their conference) even though the Wolves have been horrific and “there’s a difference between getting stats and helping teams win.”

Triano said coaches can — and should — weigh a team’s record heavily in determining all-stars, but sometimes, eye-popping totals just can’t be denied.

“I just think when you put up numbers like 30 rebounds in a game, you’re doing something spectacular and all-star worthy,” Triano said.

Love’s game is not flawless though — opponents have no trouble lighting him up, but Triano believes Love can work on his deficiencies and some of his own players can do so too.

“Every player has to have the dream and desire to get better at one aspect of their game,” Triano said.

“If you do one thing very well, the good players challenge themselves to do the other things and that’s kind of what we’re trying to instil in some of our guys and I’m sure Kevin is the same.”


Videos

Photos