Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Curious Case of Kevin Love

The entire world is commenting on the lack of playing time for Kevin Love, who is clearly the best big man for Team USA, and among the best overall players on the whole team.

This odd lack of playing time is puzzling to many observers, but the fact is, we here at White Basketball have seen this exact situation time and time again. It is part of very regular pattern. In American basketball, quality White players are denied minutes and starting spots even when they are outplaying and out-producing the Black player in front of them.

The pattern is also holding true that this usually happens under White coaches. Why? No one seems to know. But once you start to look for it, it is everywhere, as I have documented extensively on this blog.

The first step to overcoming this discrimination is acknowledgement of the problem, and I hope this blog will help raise awareness. Getting articles like this publised by ESPN certainly helps:

ISTANBUL, Turkey -- One of the big mysteries surrounding Team USA at the World Championship is why Kevin Love's playing time has been so limited.

He has been, by far, the most productive and aggressive player for the Americans when it comes to producing points and rebounds off the bench, but he is playing behind Andre Iguodala at the 4 spot and behind Lamar Odom (and sometimes Tyson Chandler) at center.

In yesterday's victory over Iran, which I dissected in my postgame column with a critical eye regarding the Americans' offense, Love led the team in scoring with 13 points despite playing the fewest minutes (just under 11) of anyone on the roster.

"I just go out there and try to be productive. Coach said today everybody's in their roles. I think for me, I know Lamar is going to be the starting center, and he's going to play a lot of minutes. So when I get the chance to come in, whether I'm playing 5 minutes or 25 minutes, I have to get the job done. And I feel I've done a good job contributing thus far," Love told

Love played only 5:20 in Team USA's 2-point victory over Brazil, 13:24 in the 22-point victory over Slovenia and 13:14 in Team's USA's tournament-opening 28-point victory over Croatia.

That's a total of just 42 minutes in five games, yet Love leads Team USA in total rebounds with 28 (Kevin Durant is second with 27, and Odom has 26) and in offensive rebounds with 10 (Iguodala is 2nd with 6). He also has shot 50 percent from 3-point range and 61 percent overall, and he is the team's fifth leading scorer (8.3 ppg) behind Durant (18.8), Chauncey Billups (10.0), Derrick Rose (9.5) and Rudy Gay (9.0).

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