Player Capsules 2012, #70-72: Kevin Love, Jordan Crawford, Marc Gasol

As our summer mainstay, Aaron's writing a 370-part series discussing almost every notable player who was -- as of last season -- getting minutes in the NBA. Intent is to get you talking, thinking, and appreciating the myriad of wonderful folks who play in our favorite sports league. Today we continue with Kevin Love, Jordan Crawford, and Marc Gasol.

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Follow Kevin Love on Twitter at @kevinlove.

We can't really deny it anymore. Kevin Love is one of the best players in the league, and a budding star. Saying that feels strange to me. Way back when in 2011, I actively doubted Love's legitimacy. Not as a good player, mind you. From his first year, there were signs that Love was a legitimately talented (and very good) NBA player who had a future as a starter at worst. Many people looked at Love and wrote him off, either due to his low playing time or his low athleticism. He certainly isn't a guy who looks like an NBA player -- he's a bit pasty, and entering the league he seemed a tiny bit chunky. But his talents are myriad, and his flaws are finally starting to be addressed. We'll start with his strengths. First, Love is the best weakside rebounding talent in the NBA. Bar none. He doesn't sky for boards as an athletic marvel a la Dwight Howard, but his ability to covertly make space and throw his weight around to get in position is unparalleled. And he does it all without being particularly tall -- shockingly enough, Love measured up as 6'8" without shoes, making him shorter (without shoes) than LeBron James.  But he's still a fantastic rebounder.

In fact, I'm of the opinion that in a pure battle to assess the better defensive rebounder, Love's command of the boxout and ability to use his weight to make space would actually make him a better rebounder than Dennis Rodman was. His body control is exquisite, and he's overcome so many physical handicaps to become a superstar that I'm not sure I'd bet against him in a well-scouted rebound-off between him and the Worm. I'm not 100% sure about this opinion, but I don't think it's blasphemous to think it. Offensive rebounding, obviously, would go to Dennis -- but defensive? Not sure. Love is too damn good. And that isn't simply his rebounding that's incredible -- Love's talents stretch beyond, as he's the best shooting big man in the league today. I don't say that lightly, either -- his three point stroke has gotten better every single year. While he's no great shakes as an isolation three point shooter, he's developed his shot to a designed consistency that makes it one of the strongest spot-up shots in the game. He's a post scorer who gets it done, especially from his pet area in the low block -- and has enough gusto that he generally rebounds and putbacks any shots he happens to miss or get blocked. Which, by the way, has happened less and less. As his role's evolved over his career, Love has been blocked fewer and fewer times per season.

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