Coach Gregg Popovich Determined To Justify Kevin Love's Inclusion On Team USA's Olympic Roster

Kevin Love lays up the ball
Gettyimages | Jason Miller
Basketball

The USA men's national basketball team earned plenty of criticisms after they included Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love to the list of players that would represent the country in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Unlike the other 11 players, Love is no longer in his All-Star form and has health with numerous injuries in the past years.

This season where he only played 25 games, the 32-year-old big man averaged 12.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists while shooting 40.9 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN.

Coach Gregg Popovich Ready To Prove Kevin Love's Doubters Wrong

Kevin Love going back to defense after scoring
Gettyimages | Gregory Shamus

Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich is well aware of the controversy surrounding Love's participation in the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic. In an interview after the team's first practice at UNLV on Tuesday, Popovich said that they would do everything they can to help Love prove his doubters wrong.

"We're going to work his ass off the next four to five weeks and demand a lot," Popovich said, as quoted by ESPN. "That's going to definitely get him back into the rhythm he needs to be in to continue to play. I think that's one of the big reasons he wanted to do this, so he can get himself back to who he was."

Coach Gregg Popovich Personally Picks Kevin Love To Join Team USA

Coach Gregg Popovich and Team USA huddle together
Gettyimages | Ethan Miller

After watching him play in the NBA for years, Popovich knew what Love is capable of doing on the court. ESPN's Brian Windhorst revealed in a recent report that the 72-year-old mentor "made the call" to offer Love a spot to the Team USA's 12-man roster for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics.

Popovich believes that Love's ability to space the floor and grab rebounds would be valuable for Team USA, especially when they go up against veteran European clubs in the upcoming tournament.

Kevin Love's Fit Alongside Other Members Of Team USA

Kevin Love taking a free throw
Gettyimages | Jonathan Daniel

When he's 100 percent healthy, Love would undeniably be a great addition to Team USA's roster. With the years he spent with Kyrie Irving and LeBron James in Cleveland, Love has learned how to excel in an off-ball capacity, making him an ideal fit alongside ball-dominant members of Team USA such as Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, and Devin Booker.

Also, Love is flexible enough to play the center and power forward positions. Though he remains a defensive liability, Popovich could easily hide his major weakness by pairing him with Draymond Green or Bam Adebayo in their frontcourt.

Team USA Stint Could Affect Kevin Love's Future

Love's performance in the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics is expected to have a huge effect on his future in the league. As of now, most people view Love as an aging big man who has dealt with numerous injuries and a financial burden to a team.

His stint with Team USA would give him the opportunity to rebuild his value and prove to everyone in the league that he still has plenty of gas left in his tank. If he performs well in the Olympics, several teams would surely be lining him to get him from the Cavaliers in the 2021 offseason.