There are a lot of reasons to love Kevin Love. From his ability to fill a stat sheet in just about every conceivable way, to his unselfishness, to his quirkiness, to the fact that he represents hope for one of the NBA’s more downtrodden franchises, Love’s game — and the context in which he plays that game — make him one of the most important young players in the NBA.
But it’s that last point, the one about representing hope for a downtrodden franchise, that’s starting to take its toll on him.
Yesterday, during USA Olympic Basketball practice, Love told Yahoo! Sports that having to listen to all of his USA teammates talk about their playoff exploits was making him realize just how frustrating his situation in Minnesota has been.
“My patience is not high,” Love said. “Would yours be, especially when I’m a big proponent of greatness surrounding itself with greatness? All these [Team USA] guys seem to have great players around them.
“It’s tough seeing all these guys that are young and older who have all played in the playoffs. When they start talking about that, I have nothing to talk about. If I don’t make the playoffs next year I don’t know what will happen.”
This piece of news would both scare and excite me if I was a Wolves fan. Love wants to win. That’s awesome. You have to have guys on your roster, especially your best players, that want to be successful. I know that sounds obvious, but it’s a point worth making.
Here’s the issue, though: Will Minnesota heed his words?
There’s a fine line between being an “exciting” team — you know, one that has a ton of young talent but finishes 26-40 — and being a competitive team. While the Wolves have an up-and-coming point guard in Ricky Rubio, newly-acquired wingmen in Brandon Roy and Chase Budinger, and a host of young talent in Derrick Williams, Wesley Johnson, and co., that doesn’t make them competitive, necessarily. In a way, they’re a lot like the Golden State Warriors.
For years, the Warriors run-and-gun style of play has been “exciting” and fun to watch. But Golden State is not the place to sign as a free agent if one is hoping to chase an NBA title. That is not to say the same stigma currently applies to the Timberwolves, but this is not a team expected to compete for an NBA title with its current roster.
Love is very easy to like, as I said. He’s a hard working, 23-year old stud, and someone who can be a key kog on a championship team. Unfortunately for him, he hasn’t played in any meaningful basketball games since the 2008 Final Four against Memphis.
I hope for Minnesota’s sake it makes the necessary moves to prove to Love it’s a franchise committed to winning. As it stands, if I was Kevin Love, I’d sure as hell question David Khan’s desire to put together a championship-caliber roster. The fans not only deserve to watch Kevin Love, they deserve to watch a better overall product.
So: Love’s comments. Fair or foul? Is this a guy who wants to put a little but of pressure on his front office to put together a better product… or the start of something more sinister? Let us know in the comments.