Tim Duncan has long been the gold standard for greatest power forwards that ever played. Granted, Karl Malone and Charles Barkley are often thrown around in that discussion. Karl Malone has Duncan on scoring. Barkley is right there on rebounding. But for the argument’s sake, let’s just say Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward of all time. Looking at these guys in their prime, Kevin Love might be well on his way to taking that distinction. We’ll say Tim Duncan’s prime scoring average is right around 22 or so. We’ll give him 11.5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 shot blocks a game. 22–11.5–3–2. Also he’s won multiple championships, but quite frankly we at Lower The Rim look down upon championships. Would those Spurs teams have beaten the 90’s Bulls teams? Highly doubtful, which is sad for a guy like Karl Malone, because he actually has better numbers than Duncan. At any rate, there you have it, the Greatest Power Forward Ever Bar stands at 22–11.5–3–2.
Bring in Kevin Love. As of right now his career scoring average stands at just 16.4, but keep in mind that in the first few years of his career Love played right around 25 minutes, whereas Duncan was hitting nearly 40. Also we have to factor in a period of time last year when Kurt Rambis had a brain aneurysm and decided that Kevin Love actually wasn’t very good. Worst coaching move ever, and probably played a big part in his eventual firing. So, 16.4 is where Love stands, but this season he’s averaging 25–a Karl Malone number–and tonight he scored 39, which he seems to be doing routinely of late. That said, if Love maintains this sort of scoring for the next 7-10 seasons, he might just finish out at 26 or 27 per game. Let’s give him 26. From there, his rebounding will probably be his claim for greatest of all time. He’s at 12 a game for his career, already better than Duncan, Malone, and Barkley, and if he continues at the 13-16 per game rate that he’s at, it’s probable he’ll finish right around 14 for his career, DEMOLISHING the 10 and 11ish that Duncan, Malone and Barkley sit at. His assists look like they’ll sit right around 2, and from there the one stat that might detract is blocks. He only blocks 1 shot every 2 games, and that’s likely not going to get any better with age.
So there you have it. If Love keeps up this pace, he’ll stand at 26–14–2–0.5. Unless you’ve got some sort of shot blocking fetish, those numbers blow Duncan out of the water. And yet sadly, as it has for Barkley and Malone, it may come down to championships. With the free agent climate the way it is in today’s game, to say that Love could win one or multiple rings with Minnesota is a pretty big stretch. BUT, with a Rubio/Williams/Love trio, it might be possible. Plus Minnesota’s got a GM who out of his mind enough to think that it is. All the best to Kevin Love. He’ll have our vote.