After watching the first US and Russia games at this Olympics, I had the urge to overreact and throw together a write-up on how great things were looking for the forthcoming Timberpups season. However, the rational side of my brain took over and I decided to wait it out until the end of the preliminary round. I wound up having to watch both game 1’s via DVR and was already well aware of the positive outcomes, but I wanted to see it for myself – particularly how Kirilenko and Shved looked on the floor. In fact, as the games progressed it became clear that more of this write-up was going to be about those two vs. how Kevin Love’s Olympics are progressing. So let’s start with him first …
Here are some basic totals and averages across Kevin Love’s Olympic experience:
As always, Love proves that no matter how much time you give him on the court, he’ll produce. He’s received limited minutes on the star-studded team and that is absolutely, perfectly fine with me. Aside from almost having a mini-seizure when he walked off the court holding his leg in game 2 vs. China, it has been fun to watch Love participate on Team USA. It’s nice to have a horse in the race.
However, all I really want is for Love to be healthy coming out of these Olympics and to carry over the positive attitude and strong work ethic that at least some of the US team has. I’m hoping he’s a sponge and is absorbing this from Kobe, Lebron, and the like. The Timberpups need him to bring back some of that energy and discipline to build the culture of this franchise, which has been less than par for the past seven years. (I’m being kind here)
So aside from the whole, “I’m rooting for the US to win gold” angle, I have found myself being more intrigued by Team Russia and watching Kirilenko and Shved. Between the two of them, I’ve really been paying more attention to Shved, who is much more of an unknown for me, if not most. Let’s start with the easier of the two …
Kirilenko is the clear leader of Team Russia and he left little doubt in the minds of spectators with rock solid performances throughout much of the preliminary round but particularly right off the bat in Game 1. My favorite part of the box scores you see below for AK47 is the lack of zeros. He’s filling up the stat sheet and doing a little bit of everything, just like he performed in the NBA in years past.