Kevin Love nearing MVP status

Despite Wolves' struggles, the All-Star PF is excelling. But he needs help

Updated: March 18, 2014, 4:06 PM ET
By David Thorpe | ESPN Insider

Just how hard is it to shed a label?

Players are labeled early in their career by the media and NBA executives. Often, these people don't change their minds until they see a player win a title or perhaps just get close to it.

LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki are two classic examples of guys who were labeled "not able to carry their team to a title" -- until, of course, they did. Jamal Crawford was once scorned and is now embraced, thanks to his role on a very good team. If the Houston Rockets manage to win a ring, perceptions about Dwight Howard will change dramatically.

Another player who is shedding his label is Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love. Consider how Love has been perceived up until this season.

The label: A scoring and rebounding talent who can't be the best player on a playoff team and is a defensive sieve.

The reality: Love has developed into one of the top five players in the world, but he's a player who has had some bad luck to this point of his career. The fact is, despite the level at which he's playing, Love is still underrated.

But how can an All-Star be underrated? Because an All-Star also needs to win.

Here's a look at Love's performance this season and how the Timberwolves can best build around him.