Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook were part of the 2012 USA Olympic Gold Medal team. Though both came off the bench, Love essentially was the most important big man on the team. Chandler started, but sat during crunchtime while playing less minutes, scoring less points and grabbing less rebounds. Olympic basketball stats are actually hard to come by so I decided to list both their game by game numbers here.
14 min, 14 points, 3 rebounds - France
17 min, 16 points, 6 rebounds - Tunisia
23 min, 15 points, 6 rebounds - Nigeria
12 min, 7 points, 8 rebounds - Lithuania
15 min, 13 points, 9 rebounds - Argentina
21 min, 10 points, 11 rebounds - Australia in Quarterfinals
16 min, 9 points, 9 rebounds - Argentina in Semifinals
19 min, 9 points, 9 rebounds - Spain in Finals
19 min, 9 points, 4 rebounds - France
15 min, 11 points, 3 assists -Tunisia
14 min, 21 points, 3 steals - Nigeria
14 min, 7 points, 2 rebounds - Lithuania
19 min, 4 points, 4 assists - Argentina
11 min, 6 points, 1 assist - Australia in Quarterfinals
9 min, 7 points - Argentina in Semifinals
9 min, 3 points, 1 rebound - Spain in Finals
In the last 5 games, Kevin averaged 9.2 rebounds, but he did it while playing only 16.6 min a game. The overall Olympic leaders in rebounding grabbed about 10 boards in their 5 games but averaged about 32 min a game, about twice as much PT. Seeing as he's only 6-7, he's gotta be the pound-for-pound best rebounder in the world.
Westbrook's minutes dropped entering the knockout stage as Coach K began to rely on his starters for over 30 min a game. Both Love and Westbrook should be auto-selections for Rio in 2016.
Why not, here are my predictions for Rio 2016.
Other UCLA Gold Medalists
Interestingly, all 6 of our gold medalists earned them in a team sport.
- Lauren Cheney and Sydney Leroux were part of that epic semifinal match vs Canada and subsequent revenge championship match vs Japan. This is Cheney's 2nd gold medal and Leroux's first.
- Kelly Rulon and Courtney Mathewson were both defenders for the US Water Polo team who captured gold for the first time in US women's history.