Is Kevin Love the best player who didn’t make the playoffs in his first six seasons?

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Making the playoffs in the NBA isn’t that hard. Each year, most teams do it.

It especially shouldn’t be difficult for a team with a superstar, who really tips the scales in a sport where just 10 players participate at a time.

So, why hasn’t Kevin Love reached the postseason?

Love entered the NBA as a skilled player ready to contribute, and as he’s gotten in better shape and more aggressive, he’s developed into one of the league’s top players. Yet, he’s never made the playoffs

Here are the 25 players with the most win shares in their first six seasons not to reach the postseason (those who spent that entire time with one team in green):

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Only Elton Brand, who was drafted by the Bulls and then traded to the Clippers following two years in Chicago, had more win shares in his first six seasons than Love and didn’t make the playoffs.

Love is the best player to spend his first six seasons on the same team without making the playoffs.

That could make him overrated — why has such a good player continuously missed the postseason? Or it could mean he’s paid his dues and should be allowed by the court of public opinion to leave Minnesota without scorn.

There are certainly elements of truth in both sides, but I tend to side with the latter outlook.

Win shares probably overrate Love, who chases rebounds over playing sound defense. Rebounds show up in the box score and are a key piece of the win-share formula, and individual defense remains difficult to quantify.

But the win-share gap between Love and the next-closest player on the list – Pervis Short with the Warriors back in the 80s – is substantial. It’s difficult to believe Short makes that up with aspects of the game not reflected in win shares.

Simply, Love’s situation is unprecedented. Nobody has ever played so well through six seasons without making the playoffs, and it’s because the Timberwolves failed to properly support him.

They wasted time with Kurt Rambis, Jonny Flynn and Wesley Johnson . Even this season, when they assembled an underrated and successful starting lineup, their bench and late-game execution did them in.

Of course, Love is culpable in Minnesota’s crunch-time problems. You can’t easily separate his own issues with Minnesota’s.

But, soon enough, you can separate him from the Timberwolves’.

Chris Paul’s son joins him on Clippers bench in rout of Lakers (video)

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Is this disrespectful to the Lakers? Absolutely.

And I love it.

Chris Paul and the Clippers crushed their Los Angeles counterparts, 133-109, last night. The Clippers, who’ve won 13 of 14 in the series, have practically run out of ways to show up their crosstown rival on the court. If it now takes bench visitors, so be it.

This is the best late-blowout bench behavior since LeBron James led the Cavaliers in the water-bottle challenge in a December win over the Knicks. This would rank higher if Chris Jr. didn’t also joined the bench in the Clippers’ November win over the Mavericks, which is the pictured on this post.

Jawun Evans leaving Oklahoma State for NBA draft

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You’ve probably heard of the top college point guards for the 2017 NBA draft: Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, Dennis Smith Jr., De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk. You might have even heard of French point guard prospect Frank Ntilikina.

Which point guard will be drafted next after those six?

One possibility: Oklahoma State’s Jawun Evans.

Evan Daniels of Scout:

Evans looks like a second-round pick, but a dearth of point guards projected into the latter half of the first round could boost his stock.

He’s ultra quick and ultra aggressive and led the nation’s top KenPom offense. Evans relentlessly attacks the rim, often while forcing transition opportunities. That gets defenses scrambled, creating kickout-passing lanes and offensive-rebound opportunities.

However, the 6-foot Evans doesn’t finish that well at the rim – creating a major question about how he’ll translate to the NBA. The bigger defenders in the paint might limit his kickout passes, too.

His size also presents major problems defensively, though a 6-foot-4 wingspan at least helps.

Evans is good enough on jumpers to keep defenses honest, and at Oklahoma State, he had to create so much for himself. It’d be interesting to see whether limiting his burden improves his efficiency or whether his helpfulness is limited to having the ball in his hands.

My guess is the latter, and I’m unconvinced he’s good enough to demand such a role in the NBA. But the possibility is strong enough that I’d be excited about rolling the dice on him in the second round.

Shabazz Muhammad awkwardly mentions Collective Bargaining Agreement during halftime interview (video)

AP Photo/Jim Mone
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The Timberwolves surprisingly led the Spurs by nine at halftime last night, which takes us to Shabazz Muhammad‘s mid-game interview.

Muhammad:

We’re doing a great job on defense, Wiggs, myself, everybody. It’s a tough team, especially Kawhi and the guys. So, we’re doing a really good job and everybody’s collective – Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Um. What?

To be fair, I can’t even imagine what type of nonsense I’d spew in the midst of a taxing workout or a high-pressure situation – let alone something that qualifies as both.

Unfortunately for Muhammad, Minnesota eventually fell to San Antonio, 100-93. But hopefully, he can laugh at this moment. He should, at least.

hat tip: reddit user cjsplash

Duke’s Jayson Tatum, California’s Ivan Rabb declare for NBA draft

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Wednesday a couple of forwards expected to go in the first round of June’s NBA draft said they plan on making the jump to the NBA.

As expected, Duke’s Jayson Tatum and Cal’s Ivan Rabb made their decisions official.

Duke announced Tatum’s decision.

Tatum is expected to be a top-five pick, DraftExpress.com currently has him as the No. 4 pick. The 6’8″ wing can flat-out score the rock, which is why teams are intrigued, as Rob Dauster of NBC’s College Basketball Talk told us in a recent podcast. However, teams wonder if he can create shots for others and not just himself, and if he’s going to be a good defender at the NBA level. He has the physical tools to do be a good defender, but will he put in the work game in, game out?

Rabb is a 6’10” sophomore who has a great NBA build and athleticism to spare, but at the NBA level everyone is a great athlete. Rabb doesn’t have a great perimeter game and needs to develop one and be a consistent defensive force to be a difference maker (or have a lengthy career) at the NBA level. DraftExpress.com has him going 22nd in this draft, and his stock seems to have fallen over the course of the season.