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Kevin Love, doing the USA's dirty work in Turkey

Aug 31, 2010, 5:00 PM EDT

Love_USA.jpgKevin Love sat on the bench for most of the second half in the USA’s skin-of-their-teeth win over Brazil, while Lamar Odom played.

Frankly, we were a little confused. Love has played very well in this FIBA World Championships. He has outworked the other team for rebounds, his outlet passes are the best in the game, and his shots are falling inside and out. He is doing well all around and had again against Brazil, while Odom has struggled. So why stick with Odom?

I’m even more confused after reading comments from Tony Ronzone, the assistant general manager for the Timberwolves (where Love plays) but also the head advanced scout and part of the brain trust for Team USA in Turkey. He spoke with the Timberwolves official site and praised Love for his defense and doing the little things for the squad. You know the things we should have been doing more of against Brazil.

We’ll first of all, his defensive ability. He has really made an emphasis on playing defense and he is doing a great job of putting pressure on the ball and he is the only guy taking charges on our team. We got to do some more dirty work for our team to get to that gold medal game. Kevin has done that. He didn’t take a charge last game but every game up to last night, he has taken a charge for us. His defense and he is aware of it and that is expanding his game, that’s something I know Kurt Rambis and our coaching staff wanted him to do and he is really adapted to making that change. That is going to make him a better all-around player. We know he can rebound, we know he can score, and he has actually come out and made a couple of threes for us, which is nice as a trail four. This has been great for him to learn a different style of game, being around top players in our NBA, so this is huge for us and huge for him most importantly.

The Wolves should get a better player out of this. Team USA should use that player more as well, there are nights when Odom is not on (just ask Lakers fans) and someone needs to step up. Love has stepped up. They just need to leave him on the court now.

  1. Cannon510 - Aug 31, 2010 at 5:16 PM

    Let me explain why Kevin Love isn’t playing. He’s a poor mans Troy Murphy with a worse shot. On the defensive end, Kevin Love can’t block shots or change shots as well as Odom. He doesn’t have Odom’s length. Also Love is less mobile or athletic than Odom. Love can’t guard quicker players on a defensive switch.
    Kevin Love hasn’t won very many games in the pros and does not have as much crunch time or high pressure experience as Lamar Odom who’s played in numerous playoff games, 3 NBA Finals, and has two championship rings.
    Kurt, I usually like your work but these pro-Kevin Love articles are ridiculous and really hurt your credibility.

  2. mike - Aug 31, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    And we have another hater in Cannon510…..sigh. Just another uninformed basketball “fan” with a misguided opinion.
    Odom over Love…LOL!

  3. Matt H - Aug 31, 2010 at 5:24 PM

    Kevin Love does do the little things but his defense is an absolute liability against good teams. He got killed against Brazil in pick and roll situations and even got embarrased by a Spliter up and under move. It’s really a joke that our advanced scout was praising his defense. That guy should be without a job if he sees Kevin Love playing good defense out there.

  4. Craig W. - Aug 31, 2010 at 6:01 PM

    Lamar certainly has the talent all over Kevin Love. But talent does not win games. The key is to be consistently effective (Lamar has never been this) and utilize all the talent you do have, while knowing your limitations and not constantly trying to go beyond them.
    Every – repeat every – player gets badly beaten at this level of basketball. That isn’t the question. The real question is how does your team do while you are in the game? Do you make a positive difference. Actually Lamar does this, but he also has some real ‘brain fart’ moments and these tend to last a while. In a close game, with as many talented players as there are on team USA, it doesn’t pay to let a player like Lamar play through his funks. He will lose you a game and next round that won’t be an option.
    Kevin Love seems to bring a positive every time he is in the game, and he doesn’t go through long funks. This is a key reason to play him more minutes, even if they are not consecutive. Just get him in there to impact the game for a few minutes each quarter.

  5. Tress - Aug 31, 2010 at 6:33 PM

    Love is a liability on defense! Go cry me a river with thes love for Love post! Coach K knows what he’s doing. He will get Love in the can we he deems ithe right fit.

  6. Tress - Aug 31, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    Thank you Cannon510
    Co-sign 100%

  7. Trey - Aug 31, 2010 at 6:43 PM

    Coach K is coaching this team like Shooter six shots into his morning in Hickory, IN.
    I have seen no evidence that he has done anything other than mug for fawning ESPN reporters since 2006 on the US team.

  8. morpheus - Aug 31, 2010 at 6:45 PM

    Kevin love has played well but as you saw yesterday with pick n roll defense barbosa and splitter were about to take love apart. Pick n roll defense is a essential in this international game and love gave up a dunk and a lay up which is why he was sat down on the bench.
    You guy’s are getting carried away with this love fest and as far as lamar losing you a game lamar has won 2 championship including a game 7 in the NBA finals which he also was a key in that game in helping the lakers repeat specificly with his pick and roll defense again. I am sure coach k and his staff understand the importance of lamar odom’t championship and international experience over kevin love who none of either.
    Defense is why kevin love didn’t play against brazil.

  9. Zachariah Blott - Aug 31, 2010 at 7:26 PM

    Kevin Love has his flaws, but he has shown enough good things so far to be named one of the 15 best young players (rookie, 1st year, 2nd year) to start a team with.

  10. Cannon510 - Aug 31, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    Great argument. Really made me re-evaluate my thoughts on Kevin Love. If you can’t tell I’m being sarcastic.

  11. Anonymous - Aug 31, 2010 at 7:32 PM

    Kevin Love has won 24 and 15 games in the past two seasons. Are you really making the argument that Kevin Love is more of a winner than Lamar Odom? That doesn’t seem to make sense since Lamar Odom has taken teams to the playoffs as the 2nd best player on teams (Miami and Lakers (pre-Gasol)). This isn’t the movie Rudy, it takes talent to win ball games.

  12. Cannon510 - Aug 31, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    One of the easiest ways to generate content if to make up a list. Half of the players on that list aren’t even starter quality for a playoff team while some are studs.
    You make it seem like Kevin Love won an award instead of being in some weird wannabe Bleacher Report article.

  13. Loc - Aug 31, 2010 at 7:42 PM

    Kevin Love is quite fantastic. Just look at the improvement from his rookie to sophomore year.
    Pts: +27%
    Rebs: +21%
    Asts: +130%
    Plus he improved 3PT%, FT% and MPG. He’s just starting his career, Lamar is ending his lackluster career, complete with the big Kardashian and a reality show.

  14. Tress - Aug 31, 2010 at 8:05 PM

    The problem is this idiot is trying to pit Love against LO. He would have been better off praising Love and hoping he gets more minutes than trying to put LO down. Claiming Love is better is a farce!

  15. Loc - Aug 31, 2010 at 8:19 PM

    Comparing LO and Love is idiotic? Isn’t that what this entire thread is about?
    LO: 10.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 3.3 apg, 31.9% 3PT, 69.3% FT, 31.5 mins
    Love: 14.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg, 2.3 apg, 33.0% 3PT, 81.5% FT, 28.6 mins
    So Love is more productive with less time on the floor. Plus, Love has upside being a 3rd year player.
    The farce here is continuing this argument any further. It’s called critical thinking and rhetoric. You can take those courses at a community college and put together a coherent argument in a couple semesters.

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