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NBA / Dec 21, 2009 / 12:15 pm

Kevin Love Is Back, Ready To Put People In The Hurt Locker

Kevin Love

For the first 18 games of the season, Kurt Rambis peered down the bench in search of something that could give his team any semblance of a spark. His lowly Minnesota Timberwolves were 2-17 and looking more like the Lake Michigan Admirals of the ABA, than a young NBA team on the rise. Enter Kevin Love.

The 6-10 man-child out of UCLA – who should be a college junior right now – has given Coach Rambis more than just a job cushion in his return. After missing the first part of the season with a broken left hand, Love has caught up in a hurry. Now with ten games under his belt, the second-year pro has willed the Wolves to three wins since his return (including two consecutive over Utah). He is a straight up workhorse and has given Minnesota the complementing piece to forward Al Jefferson that it desperately needs in the post.

Through those ten games, Kevin is dropping 14.5 points and 12.3 rebounds per outing, while also leading the team – or sharing the lead – in glass swipes six times; including a 20 and 16 outing against Sacramento in a 112-96 win directly following our Friday afternoon chat.

Love’s been able to make his reemergence with the club while still working into game-shape form. He has also gotten the Wolves running more; with a flick of the fingertips, he can bomb a three-quarter-court outlet pass on a dime. He has great footwork around the basket and is a bonafide board hog. By no means is Minnesota repositioning itself atop the Northwest anytime soon, but the addition of Love has the Wolves playing a better brand of basketball. They are working more cohesively and exploiting their strength through the fast break: youth.

However, the Timberwolves do look once again fated for the Lottery and as of Monday, they are 5-23. This season may prove to be another learning process for Rambis’ guys, but Love has no plans of throwing up the white flag anytime soon.

Dime: You guys are in the midst of another tough season, but you beat Utah recently – twice. The talent’s there, what do you guys need to do to get over the hump and start being more consistent?
Kevin Love: We just have a lot of youth on our team. It’s just being able to end the game. We’ve had leads and thrown it away in the fourth quarter; not getting buckets, not getting defensive stops. Time will tell, we need to get better as a team. You know, me getting back, I just need more time.

Dime: You made two three-pointers all of last year. Through eight games this season, you’ve already dropped in nine triples and are shooting over 56 percent from deep. Did somebody work on their outside shooting this off-season?
KL: (Laughs) Yeah, I was working with Russell [Westbrook] and D-Rose this summer in Santa Monica (CA), and with a guy named Rob McClanaghan. We’d do spot up jumpers; we started out at 15-foot and moved it out from there to 18-foot, 20-foot. It’s something I worked on all summer. My threes really came from shooting (half-court) shots last season. Coach [Rambis] has confidence in me to shoot it.

Dime: You’re in your second year in the League; do you feel adjusted to the NBA game and lifestyle now?
KL: Yeah, I think so. Definitely playing this summer at the UCLA gym, doing different workouts and learning the style of game [the NBA] is. I felt like I really picked it up January 1st last season, through the end, and went from there. I knew what I had to work on – working around the rim, moving my shot out – the understanding of the game sets me up for a great career down the road.

Dime: Christmas time is coming up; you ready to brave the masses at the Mall of America?
KL: I went there on Black Friday; I don’t think we had a game – just Christmas shopping for the family and stuff.

Dime: After getting some face time in, “Gunnin’ For That #1 Spot,” I assume you’re quite the film buff. Any flicks you would recommend for the holidays?
KL: You know I wasn’t going to see the Blind Side – I’m not usually the kind of guy to see a heart-felt movie – but it was good. I definitely recommend that around the holiday season. I also saw, The Hurt Locker. I’d recommend that. Those two are on opposite sides of the spectrum, kind of polar opposites, but really good.

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  • mememememe

    is it just me or is k.love’s head entirely too small for his body in that picture

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    i dunno. im still not sold on this dude.
    i dunno why he left ucla after only 1 year.
    he good for some boards every night, but other than that….i dont see him as a factor in a game

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    btw….

    “Ready To Put People In The Hurt Locker”

    WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT SH*T EVEN MEAN?!!?

  • AdvancedMind

    @ Heckler

    Really? a non factor huh?
    He lead the league last year in rebounds per minute, which is impressive. Plus he was 2nd or 3rd in the league in offensive rebounds per game, which helps your team get 2nd chance buckets. Still not sure how thats not being a factor on the court.

  • AdvancedMind

    Plus when Jonny Fylnn is your point guard then you dont have very many chances to get the ball in the post and be effective, he basically scores off offensive rebounds or the pick and pop. Heres the difference i acually look past his skin tone and watch the games.

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    I never understood why everybody assumed Love wouldn’t do anything as a pro. We all get so caught up in athleticism, we forget about guys that just know how to play basketball. That’s why Zach Randolph can put up the numbers he does. Love is the same kind of player in that he just knows how to play and is physical around the basket. People keep saying the Wolves got robbed in the OJ/Love trade, but did they really? I like OJ’s game, but his peak is probably a 20-24 ppg scorer, while Love has a 16-19 ppg, 10-12 rpg ceiling. Interior threats like that are harder to come by than scoring guards.

  • DH

    @1 – Not only is his head too small, but it’s a different color than the rest of his body…

  • D.H.

    @AB

    I agree. I think the problem comes from too many coaches not knowing how to use players like Love. Zach is a great comparison and sadly he is so under appreciated that I think it, for a while, it had a serious effect on his game. Teams need guys that crash the offensive boards and get garbage buckets (its even better if their mean and physical). Ask Jordan if he thought Rodman was a non-factor. Not everybody is a black smooth stroking combo guard . . . get over it.

  • http://www.itsupportrating.com JohnEllen

    hey, good post and i also like your page layout too. Bookmarked your site and will stop by again

  • Chris

    KLove is developing at a rate that makes AJ expendible in MN. Rambis and Lambeer seem to be wearing off on Love. His passing alone is incredible especially thinking he would be a junior in college.

    Sadly he falls into the “he’s white, must be a mark madsen” kind of player which he is not

  • luke

    the reason his head looks tiny is that this dude has some of the broadest shoulders around… you wonder why a pretty unathletic white guy grabs 12 boards a game? look no further, he’s solid

  • http://www.petsocietyhelp.com Pet Society Help

    I remember people making comments of this in previous posts, this must be a really bad shopped photo. Looks like someone pasted Kevin Loves head on Mark Madsen’s body.

  • Roko

    @heckler

    you should just change your name to moron because you are just talkin reckless. You dont know why he left ucla? How bout to get take 5th overall and make like 3.5 mil a year?

    Non factor? Dude averaged almost a double double in his rookie year only playing 25 mins a game. Now hes back off a broken hand and is the new David Lee. Putting up 14 and 12 a night and is only gettin better.

    He’s not the guy you want with the ball at the end of the game obviously, but thats not his game, hes a workhorse whos gonna keep you in games, especially important for a young team trying to compete.

    I was hating on him in the beginning too but Im on the bandwagon now.

  • Bret

    First, the photo is bad, the light is all reflecting off the jersey and shoulders and his head is in the shadows. His arms are also bowed out so his shoulders look even broader than they are, making his head seem smaller.
    Secondly, I wasn’t a fan of getting Love, as I viewed Big Al as a strong power forward, not a center. I still think Brook Lopez should’ve been the guy we ended up with next to him. However, watching Love play this year and not dwelling on what we could have done, he’s an animal. He’s a double-double machine, works hard, can hit the open three, and he understands the new offense. His return from the broken hand made the Wolves a much more competitive team. Unfortunately, now without Gomes, we’re back to having a big hole in our team. But with a lot of bad contracts ending this year, and a couple of first round picks next year, we should be able to get some more decent young players, perhaps a solid scorer through free agency (think Rudy Gay), and really round out the bench.
    Oh and one final thought: the outlet pass! I heard talk about it when he was drafted, but until seeing it live at Target Center, I didn’t think much of it, but it is surely a thing of beauty to see that long pass drop right in front of the guy leading the break, hitting him in stride for a dunk! As Huey Lewis asked years ago “Do You Believe in Love?” – I certainly do!