Best Timberwolves Player Minneapolis 2012 - Kevin Love
Perhaps Kevin McHale wasn't quite the knucklehead exec many people thought he was. After all, McHale did engineer the 2008 post-draft trade that, at its core, sent O.J. Mayo to Memphis and Kevin Love to Minneapolis. In the four seasons since, Love has made himself into one of the NBA's top players and has become the Timberwolves' most identifiable baller since Kevin Garnett whined his way out of town after the 2007 campaign. In the 2010-11 season, Love's first as an all-star, the forward rolled 53 consecutive double-doubles, the longest streak since the NBA-ABA merger in 1976. His season-ending marks of 20.2 points per game and league-leading 15.2 rebounds per game made him the first player to average 20 and 15 since Moses Malone in 1982-83. Recognized as the league's "Most Improved Player," Love made a stellar segue to this season that translated to double-doubles in his first 15 games, his second All-Star selection, and an unlikely crown in the NBA's "Three Point Shootout" contest at All-Star weekend in Orlando. With the arrival of Ricky Rubio, the vastly improved inside presence of Nikola Pekovic, and a head coach sporting an actual C.V. in Rick Adelman, Love has the Wolves on the brink of their first winning season since 2005 and their first playoff appearance since 2004. Hoop heads rejoiced when the 23-year-old star signed a four-year, $62 million contract extension in January. Yet those reading the fine print winced at the deal's opt-out clause after the third year of the new agreement.