- Teams: Detroit Pistons (24-37) at Minnesota Timberwolves (30-30)
- Date: March 7, 2014
- Time: 8:00 p.m.
- Television: FS Detroit Plus
What to look for
Expectations are a funny thing in pro sports. When a fan base simply wishes for its team to be competent, and this materializes itself, satisfaction ensues even if the overall record is mediocre.
On the flip side, when great things are expected, and failure is produced, well that tends to suck.
The Minnesota Timberwolves are somewhere in between both scenarios. This was the year the Wolves were supposed to make the playoffs. Over the course of the summer, a panel (as a matter of full disclosure, I was part of it) of ESPN analysts were surveyed, which resulted in the ESPN Summer Forecast.
The general consensus had Minnesota claiming the eighth spot in the Western Conference standings, good enough for the final playoff spot. The Wolves are still alive for this scenario, but the teams in the West are simply too good.
Thus, Minny is projected to miss the postseason despite the fact they will win around 43 games according to Hollinger’s Playoff Odds. Because many believe the season will play itself out as such, there have been rumblings that Kevin Love is overrated.
This is not necessarily a new conversation, but rather one that been gaining steam. A little over a year ago, Ball Don’t Lie’s Eric Freeman offered this point:
While he puts up obscene numbers and deserves his spots on All-Star and All-NBA teams, there’s some question as to whether or not he can be the clear-cut first option on a championship contender. For all his abilities, Love doesn’t always seem like the kind of player who can create good shots by himself.
This observation came on the heels of Derrick Favors stating Love was “just like any other stretch 4 in the league.”
Love is a talented player, and he is good enough for Minnesota to be in the playoff discussion, but perhaps not talented enough himself to elevate them without the aid of another star. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but one can only wonder if Wolves fans view it as such.
Detroit Pistons fans would probably kill for a player like Love regardless of Tyson Chandler’s assertions on his defense. Love is producing 26.5 points, 13.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game on 46.1 percent shooting from the floor this season.
That kind of production is what makes him a big name with respect to the 2015 free-agent class. The enigma of Love will be on full display tonight when Minnesota hosts Detroit.
The Pistons will have to deal with him on the boards, on the block, in the high post and in the pick-and-pop where he is quite lethal. It’s an odd thing: I would definitely want Love on my team, it just depends what team that is.