Five Minutes With Kevin Love
The NBA’s Most Improved Player talks about Ricky Rubio and David Kahn.
by Nima Zarrabi / @NZbeFree
Kevin Love is good at razzing people. He’s always had a great sense of humor and solid comedic timing. So when the T-Wolves big man attended the Gatorade High School Player of the Year dinner as a presenter last week in Hollywood, I wasn’t surprised to hear him badgering the PR rep on site who took him around the post-dinner media carousel.
When he arrived at the station with the sheet of paper that read SLAM Magazine, Love smiled at the PR lady and said, “Finally, you got me to a good publication.” Love has been a proud member of the SLAM fam since serving as our diary keeper as a high schooler and it’s always refreshing to sit down with him for a few minutes.
Kevin Love: Yeah. Those guys both owe me money. I don’t care if we’re in a lockout, I will come and find them. Please let them know. Especially Ryan. Myles I can handle, he’s out in Minnesota.
SLAM: I think Ryan probably owes you a lot.
KL: Yes he does [laughs].
SLAM: How has your offseason been? Where have you been spending your time?
KL: I’ve been down here. I was in Minnesota right before the lockout. Four or five days in the gym. At the time there were nine of us in the gym and eight of the guys were 24-years-old or younger. That means a couple things: We’re going to have a bright future and there’s going to be a ton of growing pains.
SLAM: How do you feel about that?
KL: For the lack of a better word, I guess it’s a little bittersweet because for three years now we’ve been rebuilding. But I can see, especially with Derrick Williams, Ricky Rubio, Mike Beasley, Anthony Randolph and Wes Johnson—all the way down the line to Lazar Hayward and myself, we have a slew of guys that can really have a bang in this league and make moves and have a lot of success. I’m looking forward to growing with those guys, but it’s going to take a little time because the guys coming in and the second and third year players still have room to grow. So it’s going to be tough going against those teams that have been there and done that.
SLAM: When it appeared that Rubio was on his way in, you were a bit skeptical about it on your twitter. Why?
KL: I heard so many rumors about him coming over so I just said I would believe it when I see it. So that first day I walked in the gym, David Kahn looked at me and goes, “Do you believe it now?” Of course I said, Yes. And he said I should tweet about it, so of course I did. I was having fun with it a little bit and I’m excited to start playing with him.
SLAM: Did you get to run with him at all?
KL: Yes. It was a ton of fun. It’s refreshing. He’s the type of player who loves to get into the gym because he loves the game so much. He wants to work, he wants to stay in the gym and some of his passes are just phenomenal. He sees the floor at 20 years old better than most of the guys I’ve seen. I’ve been around Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, that caliber of players growing up. It’s a fun thing to watch when you’re out there.
SLAM: On twitter, you mentioned dreaming about pick and rolls with him.
KL: It’s crazy the stuff that he sees. He will go up and find you, no matter where you are on the court. You might be wide open and think he doesn’t see you, but he finds you.
SLAM: What are your feelings about the Kurt Rambis firing?
KL: It is a business and I had a good relationship with Kurt. I wish him well in his future endeavors. He’s been around a plethora of winning. He was with the showtime Lakers with the funky goggles and shaggy hair all the way to being an assistant with the Lakers as well. He will get a job. He’s articulate and I learned a lot from him. I wish him the best. Business always comes first and that’s what the front office decided to do.
SLAM: Do you believe in David Kahn’s vision for this team and are you behind what he’s doing?
KL: I’m definitely behind what he’s doing. Like I said it’s a little bittersweet and tough to swallow, just because we’re going to have some growing pains again. Hopefully it’s not a 15-17-win type season. Hopefully we can push into the 30-35 win category if not make the Playoffs. We need to stick together and grow as much as possible. Luckily this offseason we have seven guys out here in Southern California during the lockout. We can all get together and roll the ball out and play some pickup games. In that regard it’s going to help us, but until we get out on the floor with our new coaches we’re not going to know exactly where we’re going to go.
SLAM: You’ve shown solid growth as a player each year in the League. What are you expecting out of yourself this year?
KL: Hopefully the same thing. I know that is tough to say because of the numbers I put up but I definitely want to be just as efficient and just as well used as I was. I always mentioned that if I had the opportunity to play 35-36 starter minutes every game that I was going to have success and I was able to this year. I was put in a great situation and had a great opportunity to do so. If that’s the case, I expect a lot of the same from me.
SLAM: Is Beas going to be OK?
KL: Yeah, Beas will be good. He’s eccentric, he’s a different dude but he’s going to figure it out. Just in talking to him, despite what happened to him in Minnesota a couple weeks back, he has grown up in a lot of respects and I look forward to playing with him for a lot of years.