Love starts new contract with new goal: playoffsPublished 8:54am Thursday, October 11, 2012
MINNEAPOLIS — The sweat and sacrifice that Kevin Love put himself through over the last four years to reshape his body and his game have brought him to this point.
The doughy 19-year-old is now a lean 24. The dreaded “tweener” has now become by most accounts the best power forward in the game. The stat-monger who lost 230 games in four seasons now has an Olympic gold medal around his neck.
He spent the summer surrounded by stars whose individual accomplishments have translated into team success. As he prepares to begin his fifth season in the NBA, Love knows now is the time for him to do the same with his Minnesota Timberwolves.
“I feel like I’m ready to break through,” Love said in a recent interview with The Associated Press. “I feel like I have a sense of accomplishment in this league for what I’ve done, but the next step is the playoffs. The next step is really looking at team goals.”
The London Olympics weren’t all fun and games for Love.
Sure, he got to see the sights, play a crucial role on the best team in the world and bring home the gold, his first real taste of championship-level basketball since he left UCLA after his freshman season. But he took plenty of grief from his hyper-competitive U.S. teammates. Love was the only NBA player on the roster without a playoff appearance, and he heard about it all summer long.