Cleveland Cavaliers: Is Kevin Love a hall of famer?


Cleveland Cavaliers big man Kevin Love is in the midst of a fantastic career — but is it hall-of-fame worthy?

Cleveland Cavaliers front court cog Kevin Love has had plenty of ups-and-downs during his time with the team. After putting up monster numbers with the Minnesota Timberwolves as their No. 1 option, playing third and second fiddle with the Cavaliers has been an adjustment.

Still, despite a dip in statistical production with the Cavs, his numbers remain among the best in the NBA. At 29, Love’s HoF case is sure to gain steam, and his status for the hall is worthy of discussion.

Love’s career averages and accolades place him in impressive company (all statistics according to

Kevin Love60244.336.418.411.
  • Most Improved Player (2010-11)
  • Four All-Star Games
  • Two time All-NBA 2nd team (2011-12, 2013-14)
  • One NBA championship (2015-16)
  • Player Efficiency Rating (22.0)

But how does he stack up against other former all-time front court greats through 10 seasons? Specifically, the following: Chris Webber, Kevin McHale, Kevin Garnett and Charles Barkley.

Chris Webber

While Webber may not be in the hall yet, he was a finalist earlier this year and is sure to get the nod, eventually. Through 10 seasons, Webber’s statistics and accolades are somewhat similar to Love’s:

Chris Webber59649.429.922.
  • Rookie of the Year (1993-94)
  • Five NBA All-Star Games
  • Three time All-NBA 2nd team (1998-99, 2001-02, 2002-03)
  • One All-NBA 1st team (2000-01)
  • One All-NBA 3rd team (1999-00)

Admittedly, one glaring trend begins with the comparison to Webber — defense.

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Love is no Dennis Rodman on the defensive end, but today’s NBA demands heightened emphasis on offensive production.

Although, Love’s production on the boards defensively has been superior to Webber. His 19.8 total rebound percentage (TRB%) is substantially more than Webber’s 14.7 TRB%.

Another recurring theme of Love’s Hall-of-Fame case is his reduced statistical output since joining the Cavaliers.

While Webber may hold individual honors over Love, the championship ring Love holds is a crucial part of the argument. Webber’s likely NBA Hall of Fame induction bodes well for Love’s prospects.

Kevin McHale

Comparing Love and Boston Celtics great Kevin McHale and proves the two have little in common, other than playing in the front court. Through 10 seasons, McHale’s standing as a champion and defensive ace trumps Love’s accolades:

Kevin McHale77656.327.
  • Two NBA Sixth Man of the Year awards (1983-84, 1984-85)
  • Six NBA All-Star games
  • One All-NBA 1st team (1986-87)
  • Three time All-NBA Defensive 1st team (1985-1986, 1986-87, 1987-88)
  • Three time All-NBA Defensive 2nd team (1982-83, 1988-89, 1989-90)
  • Three NBA Championships (1980-81, 1983-84, 1985-86)

While Love outpaces McHale in most traditional-offensive statistics, the defensive greatness of McHale on all-time great Celtics teams can’t be ignored. Love struggles mightily defensively, and is the primary argument against his standing as an elite player — or future hall of famer.

In a much different NBA, McHale thrived on both ends of the floor. His already being immortalized in the NBA Hall of Fame sets a standard for players in roles such as Love’s.

Similarities exist, but McHale’s accomplishments through 10 seasons could be used as an argument against Love.

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley’s individual greatness is what Kevin Love held the potential to reach with the Minnesota Timberwolves. From a statistical standpoint, it’s easy to argue Love would’ve had similar numbers to Barkley — outside of three-point shooting and defense — through 10 seasons:

Charles Barkley75156.225.623.311.
  • Eight NBA All-Star games
  • Most Valuable Player (1992-93)
  • Five time All-NBA 1st team (1987-88, 1988-89, 1989-90, 1990-91, 1992-93)
  • Four time All-NBA 2nd time (1985-86, 1986-87, 1991-92, 1993-94)

Ultimately, Barkley’s first 10 seasons could be used as an argument against Love. Sure, Barkley had more help than Love in Minnesota — but his eight playoff appearances as his team’s primary option are worth noting.

Love enjoyed no team success until his arrival in Cleveland.

Kevin Garnett 

Now finally, fellow-Minnesota Timberwolves great Kevin Garnett. “The Big Ticket” was dominant as the Wolves’ primary option, just like Love:

Kevin Garnett77549.029.920.
  • Eight NBA All-Star games
  • Most Valuable Player (2003-04)
  • Three time All-NBA 1st team (1999-00, 2002-03, 2003-04)
  • Three time All-NBA 2nd team (2000-01, 2001-02, 2004-05)
  • One All-NBA 3rd team (1998-99)

Considering Garnett’s career accomplishments, he’s sure to be a first ballot NBA Hall of Famer when eligible in 2021. Like Love, Garnett enjoyed little to no team success in Minnesota.

Also, Garnett’s first six seasons in Minnesota, compared to Love’s start with the Timberwolves, display the similarities:

Kevin Garnett44848.731.
Kevin Love36445.

Although the two big men are completely different players, their statistical production in equal time with the Timberwolves shows what Love sacrificed coming to Cleveland. Playing with LeBron James — and Kyrie Irving for three seasons — made the UCLA product the third option a championship caliber team.

While Garnett enjoyed more team success in Minnesota, his supporting cast was better than Love’s. Garnett is undoubtedly the better player.

But failed draft picks Randy Foye and Jonny Flynn did nothing to help Love’s case in Minnesota. Garnett jumped ship in Minnesota after 12 seasons with the franchise and joined the Celtics; It took Love half the time to leave.

If Garnett had left the Timberwolves after six seasons, how would his numbers and individual honors change?

It’s an impossible question to answer, but worth thinking about while pondering Love’s HoF case.


According to Basketball-Reference’s HoF Probability list, Love currently holds a 44.76 percent chance of making it in, which ranks 16th among active players.. The process of developing the percentage is explained on their website.

Whereas Basketball-Reference’s method is not perfect, it paints a picture of what Love needs to accomplish to cement his legacy. Considering McHale and Barkley are already members of the hall, his shortcomings are highlighted in those comparisons.

Among McHale, Barkley, Webber and Garnett, one surprise stands out on the list of HoF probabilities — Webber’s 14.6 percent chance of induction. His being a finalist already is an excellent sign for Love’s status.

If anything, comparing Love to four great big men in the NBA further complicates his current legacy. Now that Irving is in Boston, Love’s usage has seen slight spike this season.

The biggest advantage the Cavaliers front court cog holds is his NBA championship. Whether LeBron James leaves Cleveland after this season could also have bearing on Love’s candidacy. If James leaves, and the Cavaliers don’t trade Love, he could find himself in a similar situation as Minnesota — being the No. 1 option, that is.

Love is constantly a point of criticism for Cavaliers fans and pundits, alike. But his overall consistency with the Cavaliers, and monster numbers in Minnesota, create a complicated legacy.

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As of today, Love is not worthy of the hall — but the coming years will determine if he belongs in the same company as McHale, Barkley, Webber, Garnett and the game’s all-time greats.