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Kevin Love finds minutes on Team USA slipping away

Jul 24, 2012, 11:08 AM EST

Kevin Love, Andres Nocioni AP

On paper, Kevin Love should be playing increasingly key minutes for Team USA — he is second most logical center behind Tyson Chandler, his rebounding and outlet passing skills fit the up-tempo style Team USA wants to play, and on offense he can hit the three and pull opposing bigs away from the basket.

But in practice, he is seeing his minutes shrinking. Mostly because Team USA can get offense from a lot of sources, what they need are guys who can defend. That’s why you’re seeing more Andre Iguodala. Love is not adapting to the physical style of international ball and is trying to be more finesse and not defending the rim like the Americans need their bigs to do. Anthony Davis is raw but he’s more of a defensive force right now.

Love is going to get his chance to prove his worth Tuesday — Team USA will need him to match up against the size of Spain and it’s front line of Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol and Serge Ibaka. One way or another, Love is going to prove where he fits on this team Tuesday.

Love told Chris Sheridan of Sheridanhoops.com he is frustrated and wants to prove he belongs.

“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.”

It’s really pretty simple. Outwork a Gasol for a rebound. Knock Jose Calderon on his a** when he drives the lane. Defend the post like a beast. Don’t worry about the offense, that will come. If you want to do more than have just really good seats in London for the games, you’ve got to earn it.

Tuesday is your chance.

  1. ccshocktalk - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:29 AM

    After watching the game against Argentina, it is quite clear that our team will need to match the physicalality of the other teams. It isn’t that we don’t have the size or the strength, it’s simply the rules are different over there. Once everyone relax’s and realizes they are allowed to bump, hand check, and be pretty hands on, then I believe our guys will dominate like they expect themselves to.

    Kevin Love will figure it out, as will the rest of the team.

  2. Justin - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:32 AM

    As a Wolves fan I am a huge fan of Kevin Love. I was ok with him calling out Wolves management to make necessary changes but that goes both ways. He needs to make a leap on the defensive end. If he wants to truly be an elite player that is what he needs to do. Hopefully this is a wake up call for him. Yeah he can be an offensive force but so can all of team USA. He is losing minutes because of his defense.

  3. lakerluver - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:34 AM

    Love is a beast. Can’t wait to see him in the Purple & Gold!! You know it’s gonna happen.

    • brianjoates - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      He might not end up in LA, and Twolves have some nice young pieces, but I just can’t see Love playing in Minnesota beyond this contract.

  4. andycapozello - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:43 AM

    Love is proving he is not the best forward in the league just scores a lot of points and gains a lot of rebounds on a terrible team because someone has too. He would be great fit on a team with Two superstars like LA, Brooklyn, I even think he would fit great with rondo after Garnett is over the hill. But all in all I’d still take Bosh over Love right now.

    • thestudiokida - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:02 PM

      Has anybody anywhere in existence ever claimed that Love was the best forward in the league? Aren’t we forgetting about the obvious consensus… (HINT: He just won a MVP, NBA Championship & Finals MVP)

  5. smitheye - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    Don’t get me wrong, K Love is good. But he is vastly overrated.

  6. tomossriceenoughsaid - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:17 PM

    where will the LoveShack be in 3 years? Im hoping with his buddy (youngest MVP in league history).

  7. therealgts - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    Nice comparison between love and lebron. They don’t even play the same traditional position. People say love is the best 4 in the game. Not 3 like LBJ

    • Kurt Helin - Jul 25, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      Did you watch the finals? LeBron played a whole lot of four.

  8. lorddarkhelmet - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Honestly, this is why Hibbert or Monroe should have gotten more consideration

    • tomossriceenoughsaid - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:51 PM

      I agree Monroe would fit in real nice

    • pglive21 - Jul 24, 2012 at 3:19 PM

      Hibbert was never eligible. He just asked for his release from the Jamaican national team a couple months ago to play for the US at some point in the future but it still has not been resolved. He was never an option for the 2012 Olympics team.

      • lorddarkhelmet - Jul 24, 2012 at 8:47 PM

        Huh, missed that somehow. Thanks!

  9. rajbais - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:23 PM

    Looks like our chances of going undefeated are going away.

  10. rajbais - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    It looks like our chances of going undefeated are going away. We were down to Brazil and barely closed out Argentina?

  11. misterdreamer119 - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Shut up D up and let your game do the talking. Why did you sign extension anyway? Youd be on a contender now Love?

  12. noahbird - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    Love is out secret weapon. They’ll unleash his rebounding ability when the game turns real. Haha

  13. davidly - Jul 24, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Outwork a Gasol for a rebound
    A sports’ journalist uses an indefinite article with a proper noun in a context that actually lends it grammatical relevance. Well, done, Mister Helin!

    • connaniii - Jul 24, 2012 at 7:02 PM

      Yes, overwork Gasol for a rebound is right, after all if you didn´t know the Spaniard has averaged 9.2 RB per game to go along with 18.7 points per game in his 12 year NBA carreer. Not too shabby I might add!

  14. lakerluver - Jul 24, 2012 at 6:42 PM

    Overrated?! You would take Chris Bosh over Love?! He only gets numbers because he plays for Minny? These are some of the dumbest comments I’ve read on here!! I don’t care where he plays, the guy can ball and his stats don’t lie. The fact that he has very little help in Minny should mean that his numbers would suffer. Teams only have to focus on stopping him, yet he still gets 20 and 15 a night. For the guy who said he’d take Bosh over Love, I say put Love on the Heat last season and they would probably be back to back champs. He’s a much better rebounder and shooter than Bosh. So, why exactly would you take Bosh over him? Maybe for defense but Bosh ain’t exactly Alonzo Mourning!! He’s doing what Bosh did in Toronto but only better.

  15. ptestonm - Jul 25, 2012 at 8:14 AM

    America is still looking for the next Larry Bird and now that pressure has been put on Love. I personally like the man I refer to as Dub Dub but he is a sidekick to a star at best. Only in Minnesota, a safe haven for all the “next Larry Birds”, would he get the star label.

  16. skinsfanwill - Jul 25, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    Love is a system forward. He is doing well in that system. Put him on another team and he will be abused. He scores and rebounds because his team sucks and misses plenty of shots. And “nobody” plays defense in the west. Bring him on the east coast and see if he is an all-star. He is overrated.

    • davidly - Jul 25, 2012 at 9:22 AM

      He scores and rebounds because he can score and rebound. Pretty simple really. Overrated? By whom, exactly?

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