Kevin Love was the most surprising absence from the NBA All-Star reserves announced Thursday. The Minnesota Timberwolves forward was left off the Western All-Stars; in his place, the West's coaches chose Clippers rookie Blake Griffin, Spurs legend Tim Duncan, Lakers forward Pau Gasol, Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki and whichever reserve guard (Manu Ginobili, Russell Westbrook or Deron Williams) rated lowest and thus took a wild card spot.
Love is averaging 21.4 points and a league-best 15.5 rebounds. He's tallied 34 straight double-doubles, he has a True Shooting percentage of .593, is No. 6 in the league in PER, No. 5 in Win Shares (despite a team in the bottom five in wins) and is on pace to be the first player since Moses Malone to average 20 and 15 in a season.
TNT analyst and former high-rebound power forward Charles Barkley stumped vociferously for Love during the cable network's announcement of the picks, at one point saying that there are so many bad teams in the NBA because coaches "don't know what the hell they're doing." He then went on to talk about the size of Kim Kardashian's ass.
Commissioner David Stern will soon select a replacement for injured All-Star starter Yao Ming, and Love figures to be a top candidate, along with Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge, Suns point guard and two-time MVP Steve Nash and Lakers forward Lamar Odom, who might receive a bit more consideration given that the All-Star Game will be played in L.A.
A Carmelo Anthony trade to the Eastern Conference before the Feb. 20 All-Star Game could open up another spot, too.