Kurt Rambis was a power forward who did what power forwards of his generation were supposed to do — get in the paint, bang, get rebounds and do the dirty work.
Now he is coaching Kevin Love, who is having a breakout season doing some dirty work like rebounding — and doing that better than anyone in the league — but scoring as well. Call it the positional revolution if you wish, for Rambis the concerns are more practical — how best to use Love’s varied skill set to his team’s advantage.
There have been questions about how well he has done that, whether he has really trusted Love. But he clearly had given some thought to how Love is sort of an evolution at his old position.
“There are a lot of teams that look at (the power forward spot), because it is a relatively unique position, because you can have a lot of impact in a lot of different areas,” Rambis said before his Wolves took the floor against the Clippers. “You can be a more centeresque, traditional power forward, or you can be a stretch four, a smaller three/four guy. I think teams take advantage of whatever they have and what fits their team.
“I think that’s where Kevin fits in, he’s a unique player… he can play on different spots on the floor so when you match up on him you have to have a guy who can defend in those areas as well.”
Love is not the first but rather just part of the evolution of how big players approach the game, Rambis added, and with that how coaches need to use those players.
“I think players have evolved over the years, too,” he said. “You rarely see a big man today that’s a strictly back-to-the-basket type of player, which is what they all were when we were growing up. That’s how guys played. Now a lot of guys play facing the basket, even with smaller guys who are stepping out and being three pointers shooters even though they are 6’9” or 6’10”, small forward stretch four kind of guys. As opposed to playing inside, which is where most coaches would have stuck those guys as they were growing up. Now guys are growing up facing the basket and developing that kind of game.”