Game Preview: Lakers vs. Timberwolves

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Pups Question #3 for John:

In the past, Kevin Love has had reservations about his future in Minnesota. Assuming Love makes a full recovery and stays healthy from then on, is he still considered the future of the franchise? The Timberwolves have made substantial roster moves in an attempt to satisfy Love’s reservations, but will he remain in Minnesota for the long haul? And if so, what might his legacy be?

John:

If you believe what Love says to anyone that will listen, as long as the Wolves start winning games and playoff series, he would like to remain with the franchise.  However, this team isn’t going to the playoffs and winning any series without having him and Rubio on the floor together and fully healthy.

In my heart of hearts, I don’t see him as a career Wolf unfortunately.  I think he will quietly be on the block when his opt-out clause starts to come into play – during/after the 14/15 season.  The team took DWill in 2011 because he was the best player available on most people’s boards.  However, he was also insurance in case Love didn’t sign an extension.

Love is already the second best player to ever wear a Wolves jersey.  Assuming he is with the team a few more years and through his current contract, I could see his number up for debate on whether or not they put it in the rafters when his career is completely over.  Fans enjoy getting rattled over what Love says and does in the media (self included) and I certainly critique his game more than others, but this should come with the territory of a max player and a desire to be seen as the face of a/the franchise.

We’ll see what happens though, there are a lot of variables that come into play or can come into play over the next two seasons.  I truly hope he stays because it certainly won’t be easy replacing the best PF in the game.  (Boom!)

Lakers Question #3 for Alex:

Two parts around a general theme of – How long can Kobe keep up this pace?  He’s been phenomenal this season; do you see him slowing down as the season goes on?  Beyond this, how many more seasons do you see him playing at an elite level?

Alex:

It is no secret that Kobe Bryant is just simply wired differently. After 16 years in the league, Kobe has started off his 17th season with arguably the best regular season of his illustrious career. Recently, however, Kobe has dramatically changed his plan of attack. The “Mamba” has now taken over the Lakers’ offense as the ‘full-time facilitator’, a role that seems to have turned the Lakers’ season around.

If Kobe continues playing in this manner, and his teammates continue their solid play around him, there’s no reason why he can’t keep up his phenomenal play for the rest of the season. Barring injury, Kobe’s reduced scoring load should enable him to lead the Lakers back into the playoff picture.

As for beyond this season, Kobe has said that he will most likely retire once his current contract runs out (in two years). I do think that Kobe will continue to play at an elite level until that time. Could Kobe play after that? Sure, but it will all depend on how his body feels and the overall state of the Lakers.

If it’s any indication of how hard he’s been on Dwight Howard this season, Kobe wants to make sure his beloved franchise is in good hands, long after he is gone from the game.

We hope you enjoyed the preview of this Friday’s matchup between the Lakers and Timberwolves. Again, you can read more from me at Laker Nation and/or follow me on Twitter. You can read more from John on Timberpups.com and/or follow him on Twitter, as well.