Gregg Popovich reveals Cavs star Kevin Love’s critical role in Team USA’s gold medal hunt
Kevin Love is coming off another down year for the Cleveland Cavaliers but his on-court struggles did not deter Gregg Popovich from making him a part of Team USA’s roster for the Tokyo Olympics.
This came as a surprise to many as the power forward has battled through a slew of injuries and inconsistency over the last few years. However, Popovich is looking past those issues, focusing instead on what Love brings to the floor when healthy.
“You’re right, we all know that he didn’t have a great year. But he’s worked diligently to get his body ready for this, he wanted to do it badly and we have a need for his skills.
“We thought he was a perfect person to play against people like Gobert to get them out of the lane. Spreading the court is very important, and depending on what happens, he could be very valuable.”
Gobert led France to a victory over Team USA in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, making full use of the international rulebook’s lack of a 3-second violation inside the paint. The presence of Kevin Love will force Gobert out of his comfort zone.
International teams tend to play a more physical style. Love’s floor-spacing will be crucial in creating plenty of penetration opportunities for the likes of Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, and Zach LaVine.
Love’s NBA team could reap the benefits of a potential resurgence courtesy of the Olympics. Whether that leads to a more productive season for the Cavs or another franchise is yet to be determined.