Team USA In Need Of Some Love

HANG TIME, Texas — Kevin Love has lost 25 pounds since he played for Team USA at the World Championship in Turkey two years ago and now he could be in danger of losing his role as a significant member of the playing rotation.

That is, if the Timberwolves’ All-Star power forward doesn’t start throwing his weight around and playing more physical when the Americans face off again their prime gold medal challenger Spain in Tuesday’s final tuneup before the Olympics.

According to our good international traveling buddy Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops, the powers-that-be at USA Basketball are not at all happy with the less-aggressive Love who has been outworked and outhustled so far in the lead-up to the Games. Seems that while Love has developed a harder body, they think his game has gone soft.

As it is, Love is the 10th man in the Americans’ rotation, watching Andre Iguodala take what could be his minutes. The reason? Iggy makes things happen on the defensive end, poking balls away, disrupting penetration and creating the transition opportunities that Team USA thrives on.

“Obviously I’d like to go out there and be playing with these guys, I really feel like I can help. I know my abilities and know what I’m capable of,” Love said Monday. “You know, Coach K and I have talked about it — this isn’t 2010. I obviously played more in 2010, but I’m a completely different player now and a far better player. So we’ll wait and see what happens. I worked into my playing time in 2010, and hopefully that’ll happen here. I just need to find a way to get into a rhythm in limited minutes, which is tough.”

Love logged only 5 minutes of burn in the American’ 11-point victory over Brazil a week ago, played garbage time minutes in Manchester, England, against Great Britain after picking up three quick fouls without accumulating any other statistics in the first three quarters of that 40-point victory, then logged only 7 minutes against Argentina with two rebounds and an assist, and no points.

He is being asked to play out of position at center, but pretty much everyone outside of Deron Williams and Chris Paul is playing outside of the normal positions they play in the NBA.

On a team that is playing without Dwight Howard and is lacking dominant size in the middle, the U.S. needs everyone to rise to the occasion and lift his game in order to thrive, maybe even survive, in an Olympic tournament where there is not much margin for error in a potential medal round where a Spanish team with Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka will be plenty big across the front line.

If Love doesn’t start to measure up soon, there is even the possibility that rookie and No. 1 draft pick Anthony Davis of the Hornets could chip away at more of his time.

It’s time for some tougher Love.

28 Comments

  1. sanford says:

    TEAM USA GOT THE BEST ALLSTARS,NO TEAM CAN MESS WITH US THATS FOR SURE ,,LEBRON CAN PLAY ALL POSITION HES THE BEST

  2. nino ramiro says:

    Danny Boy, minutes will not be given to those who do not perform well. Even if you are given 5 mins a game there should be an output, not necessarily in stats sheet but maybe in hussle plays. Love do not play hussle watch their games. He must earn his minutes this is not Minesota where he and Rubio is the only one who are relied on, this is a team where every one is the best player of their mother teams.

  3. Danny Boy says:

    Basketball players need minutes on the court to actually produce! This article quite conveniently ignores that – how can anyone expect Love to make a difference if he’s only getting 5 minutes in a game? Give him around 20, and I guarantee he’ll be able to eat up 7-9 rebounds a game..

  4. OGAG says:

    Kevin Love must be in the starting line-up

  5. Danny_W_UK says:

    Call up Demarcus Cousins. Both motivated, and aggressive, and word from the camp was, he was the best player on the floor at times. He has a chip on his shoulder and a point to prove.

  6. ko0kie says:

    anybody knows where I can watch usa basketball olympic games? seems like nba.tv doesn’t show these..

  7. I think Coach K isn’t the right man for the job. This isn’t Duke University man! His rotations are horrible.

  8. all team great says:

    Should pick Lamarcus Alldridge instead of picking iguadala or melo, too many small forwards not a lot of PF/C

  9. hello says:

    Love is just mad cuz he can’t sit outside and shoot 3s all day… Of course he starred on Minnesota ( who wouldn’t). But now he actually has to play organized ball and the position he is size for !! Love is 6’10 with very little athleticism, Gasol Bros and Ibaka will pound the $hit out of him

  10. nbafan says:

    Russel durant melo tyson and lebron will have a great game today. mark my words.=) go USA!

  11. NBEATZ says:

    Love is an amazing playerand his stats in the NBA show that, but when he or others, iehter other NBA players or fans start to bring up his size as an issue, we have got to remember when Chris Bosh was our best inside pressence last olimpics out performing Dwight. Now Bosh is good, but no love. Love has just got to go out there and play, play like it is his team and he can and should do no wrong. Rebound, play big and run the floor, hit the open jumper and the occational 3, and we would not be here talking about his playing time. I think he is just in a little shock at the situation he is in. If Bosh can be the best big on a team that had Howard, then Love can be the best big on a team that has Chanlder and Davis………. that’s all.

  12. dattebayo says:

    This is ridiculous, If Love doesn’t get minutes, neither would Aldridge or Griffin in his stead. Love was 6th in the MVP voting and he is the best rebounder in the league. He is a capable scorer second only to Nowitzki at that PF spot, he has range and agility. If he lets Olajuwon train him, we will see the dreamshake back in motion regularly.
    Right now the US has the same problem Miami had throughout the postseason. They have only 1 Big Men at Center and should he injure himself or get in early foultrouble, they will need to reinvent themselves. If they can’t hit the threeball in addition, they will be challenged hard in every game.
    Love should be a key player in the rotation because of his range and rebounding. If he doesn’t get the minutes, it’s because Coach K is a defense first coach that likes to be able to switch every pick&roll (which they could have easily done with Howard and Bosh, had they been healthy). FIBA basketball is pick&roll basketball and Love is not a great wing defender like James, Iguodala or even Durant or Anthony. Yet, that should not diminish what this guy does regularly on the court and he should get more minutes. I hope we don’t see a James, Durant, Iguodala and Anthony lineup. That lineup can switch every pick&roll, but no one besides James can handle a PF or Center near the rim, thats probably why you see him camping near the rim more often than not…

  13. Nick says:

    How is Love supposed to make a contribution if he is not getting playing time? He can only “show up” if the coach allows him to!

  14. Simplyme says:

    I think that they should play Anthony Davis more for his defense. He is someone that can block shots and get rebounds. He has played better in that little bit time he has been in the games than Kevin Love.

  15. bajaga says:

    o no, kevin love mucho undersize, very mucho! white undersize! kevin, go home!

  16. Hunter says:

    It doesn’t matter the blasted team is going to bulldoze everyone anyways so who cares!

    • Cuppa Joe says:

      Well, they didn’t exactly blowout Argentina by a huge margin and Spain is going to be one of their tougher rivals so we’ll see.

    • Lowrie says:

      Pretty ignorant comment, let me guess another arrogant American who still thinks their country is streets ahead of the rest. Got news for you mate, this isn’t 1992 when the Dream Team was untouchable and their opponents were starstruck fans. The rest of the world has caught up. Argentina only lost by 6 points and they are by no means the better than Spain. The U.S. have two disadvantages which every opponent will look to exploit, the lack of size down low and their inability to make the spot up jumpshot, if KD and Kobe have an off night from 3, then this they could mean trouble for the americans. This U.S.A team is weaker than the team put forward in Beijing 2008. Anything can happen in a knock out game so I wouldn’t be so sure of yourself mate.

  17. Travis says:

    Kevin is just one man and he is an undersized center what people forget is Love has help in Minnesota Nikola Pekovic ain’t no push over! They should put Love and Tyson Chandler on at the same time!

  18. l33tf0b says:

    why wasn’t Andrew Bynum tapped for center position?