Cavs' Kevin Love Feels Like He Has 'a Lot to Prove' for Team USA at Tokyo Olympics

Blake SchusterContributor IJuly 6, 2021

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 11:  Kevin Love of the USA National Team participates in a minicamp at UNLV on August 11, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE (Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Kevin Love is healthy, excited and ready to prove his detractors wrong as a member of Team USA. 

The 32-year-old suffered through multiple injuries with the Cleveland Cavaliers over the last season, playing just 25 games while averaging 12.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game—the lowest scoring numbers since his rookie season in 2008-09. That made many question Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo adding Love to the Tokyo Olympics team. 

Love certainly isn't one of them. 

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Kevin Love on playing for Team USA: "This is the best I've felt in a long time. I've been the odd man out since '14, '15. I understand (the criticism). I feel like I have a lot to prove."

The 2016 NBA Champion has two gold medals playing with Team USA, having won at the 2012 London Olympics and 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey. 

Among forwards heading to Japan, Love joins Bam Adebayo, Jerami Grant, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, Khris Middleton and Jayson Tatum. Among the notable snubs were NBA stars like Julius Randle, Zion Williamson, Paul George and Gordon Hayward. 

"The best reason to say why Kevin Love as an extra big was because of his international experience," Colangelo told Marc Berman of the New York Post. "Yes it’s true he hasn’t played much of anything the last couple of years, but the skills he brings to the table and commitment he’s made to physical conditioning, he’s a versatile guy up front who can rebound and hit shots. Who’s to say how many minutes a guy will play? You’re not playing all 12 players. It was a matter of filling out the roster with role players."

Love played eight games in London, but didn't start any of those contests. He averaged 11.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game coming off the bench. 

That type of production would certainly help Team USA again in Tokyo, but the question is whether or not Love's body can hold up over the course of the tournament. The Cleveland star's longest stretch of games without a rest in 2020-21 was 19 contests over four weeks from April to May. 

He'll look to prove capable of repeating that once the Olympics kick off in late July. 



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