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The Early Lead
Posted at 12:16 PM ET, 03/29/2012

Is Kevin Love a legitimate NBA MVP candidate?


Kevin Love is putting together one heck of a season. Have you been paying attention? (Eric Gay - AP)
When it comes to selecting an MVP in the NBA, individual numbers go a long way. Team success often gives a player a boost, but the numbers carry plenty of weight.

Here are a few stat averages for the month of March.

Player A: 25.1 points, 8.8 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.1 blocks, 2.4 steals

Player B: 28 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.0 blocks, 1.7 steals

Player C: 27.9 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 0.5 blocks, 1.2 steals

Player D: 31.3 points, 14.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.6 blocks, 0.7 steals

On the surface, Player D looks like your most valuable player with a higher point total and significantly greater production on the boards.

Player A is LeBron James. Player B is Kevin Durant. Player C is Kobe Bryant. And Player D is Kevin Love.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. The guy has been a double-double machine for the last two seasons. (And his name is in the headline, super sleuth!).

Oh by the way, he dropped 40 points and 19 rebounds on Wednesday night in a win at Charlotte.

Strictly looking at results, Love’s Minnesota Timberwolves continue to struggle. They’re only 7-9 in March despite Love posting three 40-point games, including his 51-point explosion in a double-overtime loss at Oklahoma City.

But Love also doesn’t have nearly the talent in his supporting cast that James, Durant and Bryant boast. All three have at least one other All-Star on their roster (James has two), while Love is forced to shoulder the load every night out.

One season removed from finishing last in the league, the Timberwolves have already eclipsed their 2010-2011 win total and are only three games out of the final playoff spot in the West. And they’re doing it with point guard Ricky Rubio out for the season with a torn ACL.

Does all of this make Love a legitimate MVP contender, or will his team’s overall performance keep him out of the hunt? Should he get a bump for not having the pieces around him that the other contenders do? Would you vote for him?

Follow us: @MattBrooksWP@CindyBoren

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By  |  12:16 PM ET, 03/29/2012

 
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