Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star power forward Kevin Love has many great qualities, including top-rate rebounding and outside shooting for his size. For the most part, though, it's agreed that Love is not a very good defender. He typically fails to protect the rim, struggles in defending the pick and roll, and gets scored on often. Effort isn't necessarily the issue — it's possible that Love's lateral quickness and other issues keep him from being a plus defender.
Nevertheless, it was still pretty surprising to hear New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler say that Love can't play defense in a halftime interview during Wednesday's game between the two teams at Madison Square Garden (via EOB):
Let's be clear: what Chandler says here would not be notable if it had come from an impartial analyst, or even a general manager. It's worth talking about mostly because players usually don't criticize the abilities of other players so openly. Chandler may have spoken highly of Love's offensive skills, but it's a little odd for a player to say anything negative about a peer. In today's NBA, players are part of a fraternity, may have known each other for years, and could play together as teammates with one simple transaction. This is poor form and not very nice.
Ultimately, though, it's probably just a funny, candid moment from a man who knows a thing or two about defense. It helps that Chandler backed up the statement with his play. Chandler finished the Knicks' 118-106 win with 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting and 14 rebounds. Love, on the other hand, mustered 19 points on just 6-for-17 from the field, with all three Knicks frontcourt starters performing well at the offensive end. Truth hurts.
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- Tyson Chandler
- New York Knicks
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