Kevin Love Skeptical but Hopeful for Timberwolves Turnaround
Of course, since he was the 2007 Gatorade National Athlete of the Year, maybe it shouldn't be that surprising. Love was in attendance for the 2010 Gatorade Athlete of the Year Awards Wednesday in Los Angeles and was kind enough to give FanHouse a few minutes of his time to talk about the roster changes that have gone down with Minnesota over recent months.
Love also discusses whether he thinks Minnesota is a good fit for Michael Beasley, what it was like winning a national Gatorade award and the ever-annoying but kind of pre-requisite Ricky Rubio question.
Will Brinson: Do [Gatorade High School Athletes of the Year Brandon Knight and Chiney Ogwumike] remind you of when you won?
Kevin Love: Oh, no question. I was so giddy before, man. Even when I was here before to accept, it was something else, and I'm really happy for all the participants. I remember getting up on stage and I made my speech and I was so nervous and I'd never made a speech like that. And I don't know what's harder -- being a presenter or having to be up there and make a speech.
WB: Are you kind of amazed -- because I am -- with the way Gatorade's grown this?
KL: Oh, absolutely. And, Bruce has done a great job putting this event on for 25 years. And it's great that we honored him today, because no one would really be here without him. And it's just really cool to see how they put this thing together -- they do it for the athletes, but not only athletic performance but for performance in the community and the classroom as well, so that really makes this a prestigious award.
WB: Alright, let's talk Timberwolves -- you've had two really good personal years so far, but you guys just traded Al Jefferson and you have what, um, is, uh, an interesting roster ... can you even begin to project anything for the year?
KL: "Interesting," that's a good word for it.
WB: Well, there have been some weird moves!
KL: No, for sure -- I didn't even know we had Kosta Koufos until this morning.
KL: From the Jazz, yeah, and a few first round picks and then a big trade exception. And we've got Darko Milicic for $20 million over four years, we have Michael Beasley now, we're just finalizing Luke Ridnour for $16 million, so I guess "interesting" is definitely the word.
As far as predictions go, it's tough, because at some point you gotta stop blowing up the team and play with the guys you have.
WB: Do you think maybe you guys could have stuck more with what you have and kind of progressed or is there too much flipping in and out with pieces?
KL: Well, I think with 15 wins last year we did need to swap some pieces out and there were going to be some big moves made. Obviously Al got traded, we signed Darko [Milicic], we got Mike Beasley for basically nothing from the Heat since they had to get that salary out of there to clear up some more space. It's gonna be interesting to see what happens -- with 15 wins, like I mentioned, you've gotta kind of blow up the team and go from there. But we're gonna be extremely young, we're gonna be very, very talented and it's gonna be kind of crazy to see what happens, because we haven't really played together except for Jonny [Flynn], Wayne [Ellington] and myself.
So yeah, we're gonna be extremely young. But you look at a team like Oklahoma and what they did, and also Memphis, so I guess we're kind of trying to replicate what they did.
WB: How about Ricky Rubio -- is he gonna get here in time to make a difference? I know you don't know, but it'd be kind of helpful to have him, right?
KL: Well, you know, he's got great court vision. Obviously, I hope he comes. First of all, there's been a lot of hype over the kid, I think he's very good, he's obviously had a great season with FC Barcelona ... but I'm tried of answering these damn questions, man. Everyone comes to me with "What's the deal with Rubio?"
WB: Hahaha, sorry, man, but you know I had to ask ...
KL: Ah, no, dude, I don't care. If I was David Kahn, I'd be kind of tired of asking them.
WB: Anyway, let me get you out on this: Beasley is -- I don't think he's a "bad apple" or anything, but he's obviously got what a lot of people in the league call "character issues." Is Minnesota the kind of environment where he can turn it around and suddenly become a huge value grab for you guys?
KL: Well, I think he's a huge value regardless. 6'9", 6'10", lefty, unorthodox, extremely talented, No. 2 pick. But on the other side, like you mentioned, he's not a bad apple, but he does have what people say -- "character issues" and skeletons in the closet, so to speak -- and, you know, it'll be interesting to see, because we don't have a lot of veterans on our team. I think he might tend to do better in an environment where there are more veterans to kind of say, "Hey, buddy, this is your role."
But hopefully the coaching staff and the front office have an idea of kind of where they want him to go and hopefully we'll be the youngest team in the NBA but be mature enough to bring everyone along, you know, slowly but surely.