USA Basketball director Jerry Colangelo explained Kevin Love’s polarizing selection to the Team USA men’s basketball team for the 2020 Olympics.
CLEVELAND — Editor’s note: the video in the player above is from a previous story.
When USA Basketball announced its 12-man men’s basketball roster for the 2020 Summer Olympics earlier this week, one name, in particular, seemed to garner more attention than the others. After all, Kevin Love has endured three lackluster injury-plagued seasons since his most recent All-Star Game selection in 2018.
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Speaking to reporters earlier this week, USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo was asked about the Cleveland Cavaliers forward’s polarizing selection to the team. In his explanation, the four-time NBA Executive of the Year pointed to Love’s proven track record in international play, as well as his shooting and rebounding abilities.
“I guess the best reason to [explain] ‘why Kevin Love as an extra big’ was because of his international experience,” said Colangelo. “Yes, it’s true he hasn’t played much of anything over these last couple of years but the skills that he does bring to the table, the commitment that he’s made regarding physical conditioning — he’s a versatile guy up front who can rebound and hit shots.”
To Colangelo’s point, the now-32-year-old Love served as Team USA’s leading rebounder throughout its run to its second of three consecutive gold medals in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The five-time All-Star also played for Team USA in the 2010 FIBA World Championship games with his combination of size and long-distance shooting making him an ideal fit for international play.
But while Colangelo appears confident that Team USA will be getting a more effective version of Love than the Cavs have been for the past three seasons, that’s not to say that the team’s roster will be heavily relying on him. With current NBA starters such as Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Devin Booker, Bam Adebayo and Jayson Tatum also playing for Team USA, it appears Love fits into the roster as more of a role player — if that — than someone who’s going to be featured in a starring role.
“Who’s to say how many minutes anybody’s going to play? You’re not playing 12 players,” Colangelo said. “So it was a matter of filling out the roster with role players. I think back to our first Olympics team in ’08 where we selected some players who were not frontline guys but they really had a role. I’m thinking of guys like Michael Redd coming off the bench as a shooter and we had others who had a specific role.”