As Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love knifes his way through the month of February while putting up incredible numbers, one has to wonder if we've seen his best just yet. He did more damage on Tuesday with a line of 33 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, nearing the second triple-double of his career.
He's tearing the league apart, leaving basketball fans wondering how good he can become if he were surrounded by better players.
That's a question worth asking, as Love will have plenty of suitors come free agency should he decline his player option in the summer of 2015. Given the explosive season he's enjoying, it's no secret Love will command a maximum contract.
According to HoopsStats.com, the All-Star entered Tuesday leading the NBA in scoring with a mark of 34.1 points per game while posting an otherworldly 38.0 player efficiency rating in February. No other player has had a PER that high in any full month during the 2013-14 season. Kevin Durant had a 35.9 rating in January, barely edging out Love's 35.8 in December.
It means that not only is Love having a phenomenal month by any stretch, but he's also been consistent in challenging the more-talked-about Durant and LeBron James for individual NBA supremacy. You could argue Love is a viable MVP candidate at this point, even though he plays on a team closer to the lottery than posturing for playoff position.
Love is a matchup nightmare; a stretch four who can morph into the prototypical, old-school power forward at a possession's notice. In addition to the points total, he's adding 14.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. When he's drawn fouls during his blazing hot month, he's made 86.7 percent of his foul shots while averaging 82.5 percent on the season. On the offensive end of the floor, he's shown virtually no weakness. That's scary considering he's only 25 years old and just entering his prime.
The T-Wolves find themselves in the unenviable position of having mediocre talent around Love that could dissuade the former UCLA star from re-signing if their middling ways continue. Ricky Rubio hasn't become enough of a shooting threat to stretch the defense (36 percent from the floor this season) and Kevin Martin isn't getting them over the top, either.
But Love presses on and continues to prove he belongs among the league's elite. Love is making a case for being one of the NBA's very best players this season.