1-on-1 with Kevin Love
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Jonah Ballow with Kevin Love
Wolves editor/writer Jonah Ballow caught up with forward Kevin Love to discuss Team USA, excelling in international competition, and the new-look squad in Minneapolis. Love also offered advice for Jonny Flynn as he recovers from hip surgery.
Jonah Ballow: Welcome to Timberwolves.com I'm Jonah Ballow and today's podcast is with Kevin Love, the Wolves power forward, and can I now say Olympian?
Kevin Love: I guess we'll see. We had a great week of practice, obviously the game went well. And I got the call from Jerry Colangelo that I'm going to be going to New York and going to the World Championships in Turkey as well so I'm very, very excited.
Jonah Ballow: The 15-man roster was announced on Wednesday and you're part of that 15-man group who will compete for the final 12 who will participate in the final tournament there in Turkey. So, how does it feel to play with these guys not only on the USA team, but take part in a training camp session in Las Vegas with some of the best players in the NBA?
Kevin Love: Well, obviously it's great. And especially when everybody's of age and in Las Vegas, so afterwards gotta get on the tables a little bit. But no, it was great going out there. Definitely any time you can get together with such talented players, with such a great group in the middle of the summer, it's very, very great competition. It's only going to get you better. Especially with the young group that we have we're all just trying to take that next step in our careers and a few veteran guys there that kind of teach us the ropes, teach us the ways, but this is a whole new stage now being able to be a part of USA basketball and with Jerry Colangelo and Coach K heading the coaching staff, it's going to be something special.
Jonah Ballow: With David Lee and Amar'e Stoudemire out of the training camp, big men are a priority for this team moving forward so that puts you in a really good position. How did you feel coming out of this training camp as far as minutes and production and the possibility of making that final roster?
Kevin Love: I feel great. Especially heading into New York, I think I have a great shot. You know like you mentioned because big men are such a big priority heading into New York and Turkey so they're going to need a big time rebounder guy that can step out and really shoot the ball. You know when you look at our roster, I kind of fit that mold. So I'm very confident heading into New York, you know like I mentioned. And however it plays out it plays out but I feel pretty good with how the week went and with how the game went as well and I'm hoping to be able to wear that USA across my chest.
Jonah Ballow: I talked to Coach K today and he was really impressed with your international shooting from that3-point line. Are there any adjustments you have to make as a player going from the NBA style going to the international game? Or is it pretty simple for you?
Kevin Love: Yeah I think there are a few adjustments you have to make you know going into international ball especially the 3-point line is I think three feet closer. So that obviously helps with the NBA big time shooters like a Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, myself among other players that shoot from three feet farther back, so I think that definitely helps us as the American squad. I also think that being able to take the ball off the rim is definitely different. There's no defensive three seconds in the key so you definitely have to pack in but the only way that helps us is with the shooting. Like I mentioned, you definitely have to pack in on us we definitely have to be able to knock down that open jump shot. So you know I think there are some things that can hurt us, some things that can help us, but we just have to play our style of ball and we'll win.
Jonah Ballow: From a mental standpoint and physical standpoint, what's it like for you to get this kind of work in? I mean you touched on this a little bit earlier, but what does it mean for you to get this kind of work in where you're playing against real competition against really talented guys in the middle of your summer in preparation for next season?
Kevin Love: You work your whole summer for this. And for me I think, you know I've always mentioned you know obviously my number one priority is the Timberwolves because that's my job, the organization I play for and you know what I put my heart and soul into. But I'd say my next priority after that would be USA basketball. And being able to come in the middle of summer after working the whole summer up to this point and to play against such great guys and international competition, it's really something special and it's only going to get you better in the long run.
Jonah Ballow: Let's shift topics to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Are you going to recognize anybody when you get back here to Minneapolis?
Kevin Love: Sure hope so. The game is obviously going to have to shift back to the NBA style. Like I mentioned 3-point line, defensive three seconds in the key but thing is, I think we head over to London and Paris for a game in training camp so I think I might as well just stay over there and when the time comes we'll look and kind of see what happens you know if we take it all the way. But I'm planning on it -- gold medal.
Jonah Ballow: How about this roster for the Timberwolves? A lot of changes this offseason once again for you, but you see the team making some moves as far as getting versatility and athleticism. What do you think about the changes that the Timberwolves have made this offseason?
Kevin Love: Well, we're very, very young. And we have a lot of talent as well so I think that everybody is just going to have to be able to coexist. Obviously the chemistry is going to be a little off- us not playing together too much as you mentioned a lot of different roster spots have changed. You know I'm just hoping that with the guys we had here and the foundation that we've laid as at team we'll just kind of be building on that and growing. Because it's going to be, obviously there's going to be some growing pains we have a lot of youth on our team like you mentioned but that can't be our excuse you know for winning or losing games.
Jonah Ballow: Alright Big Al is out to Utah, which places you I would assume firmly at that number four position at that power forward spot for this team. What's your mindset now moving into the season -- probably going to be the go-to-guy for this team as far as an offensive player? And obviously we know what you can do on the boards.
Kevin Love: Well I just feel like I have to do that. I have to be that guy you know at the end of the game that we're kind of turning to and looking to make the shot or even make the big play. So I'm willing to take that responsibility you know I think our mindset of this team needs to be defensive ball club, that we have to be fast paced with all the youth that we have to run teams out of the building and I definitely want to become a leader as well and that's something that even at 21 years old I mentioned not using my youth or using my age as an excuse. But you know just want to become a leader and help as a leader on this team for years to come.
Jonah Ballow: Jonny Flynn had surgery on his hip. He'll miss quite possibly some of the start of the season; you had a similar situation with your hand last year. You have any advice for J. Flynn?
Kevin Love: I actually just talked to him today [Wednesday]. Told him hope the surgery went well and about the USA squad so you know we've just been in touch, trying to stay in contact so when that time comes and he comes back he doesn't miss a beat. But I just really hope that you know he keeps his head high and he just keeps grinding and takes his recovery seriously and I know he will because the kid has a huge, huge heart and I know he's going to come back better than ever.
Jonah Ballow: I really appreciate your time today and the best of luck there in mid-august with the team. Hopefully you make the final cut and try to get some action for the USA Squad.
Kevin Love: Appreciate it, thanks for having me.
For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Jonah on Twitter.