As Sports Illustrated's countdown of the best NBA players continues, Cavs big man Kevin Love has been ranked the 30th best player in the league.
The ranking seems fair, as his ranking would mean that he would be a low-end best player on a team and a high-end second best player. The fact that he is the third best player on the Cleveland Cavaliers probably explains a lot of why they won the NBA championship in 2016. A championship they won after coming back from a 3-1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors.
Love certainly has his warts on the defensive end of the floor, and as the game trends towards small ball, questions surrounding players like Love have become frequent within the NBA conversation. But Love's ability to space the floor, pass and still rebound at an elite level are highly desirable traits for any NBA team.
It does seem strange that LaMarcus Aldridge. who came in at No. 11, is ranked so highly above Love. As Aldridge has a lot of the same flaws on defense, but was simply hid within the defensive schemes of the San Antonio Spurs. To his credit, he did play better team defense last season. But the same warts that make Love hard to play against the Warriors contributed to Aldridge being largely ineffective against them this season. He's also a poorer rebounder and doesn't possess the same three-point range
Ultimately these rankings are meaningless, but it's interesting to see Love drop from No. 17 last summer to No. 30 considering he had a much better season both individually and within the Cavs team concept.