Kevin Love was a great player for the struggling Minnesota Timberwolves. Much like Chris Bosh had to adapt to playing with LeBron James in Miami, Love has had to integrate his game in Cleveland. James is such a great player. He has great vision, passing, etc. He’s been the guy you want with the ball, plays at a high level on both ends, who you would start a franchise with. At the same time, it’s difficult to find the right supporting cast.
Bosh and Love are near double-double stretch forwards. Bosh is able to play minutes at center, Love you would only want at center in certain situations. Not by much, but Love is coming off a season where he’s played the fewest minutes since 2009-2010. He shot more in Minnesota, yet his shooting percentages were higher across the board. Love was also grabbing a couple more defensive rebounds on average, and double the offensive rebounds that he grabs for the Cavaliers. And obviously, his scoring has decreased alongside James and Kyrie Irving, a pair of ball-centric players and a staff that wants Love to spot up from deep.
I like mixing things up on offense, especially when it comes to maximizing performance from different talents. James has to exert himself so much when the Cavs have the ball. So does Irving. James is more of the distributor that penetrates to pass. Irving is more of a scorer that has point guard abilities, but to be honest those mostly apply to his handle to score and not really his passing.
Love plays within the offense, moves the ball around, he can get buckets inside and out. He’s also a big body that is asked to stay wide for spacing rather than crash the offensive glass. It doesn’t have to just be Tristan Thompson. Love should be setting more screens, on-ball and off-the-ball. That big body can create space for teammates, cause mismatches, and give him some easier looks inside. You can get a 3-pointer at almost anytime.
Love can also operate from the high post, not only for a turnaround jumper, but to either attack the basket or hit the open man when the help defenders commit to him. Just like when you see James getting the ball in the high post, that’s when a smaller guard should be setting a back screen for Love to slash to the basket.If you feed Love the ball around the free throw area, that’s when James should be slashing backdoor and sealing his defender for a lob. Those are good spots to utilize Love, while giving James a few things: a breather on the floor, someone to create their own shot, and him moving without the ball would result in easier looks at the basket by threat of a teammate.
Maybe I should coach the Cavs, huh? Maybe not, but expecting to win with hero ball never works. Some players may put on heroic performances or have heroic moments, but really, it takes a team of heroes to win a championship as we’ve seen every year.
This unimaginative Cavs’ offense has created scapegoats, such as Irving drilling 8/9 shots off the catch, yet his glaring struggles trying to go 1 on 1 are historically bad after the first two games in The Finals. Irving is capable of catching and shooting, cutting for a layup, even scoring out of the post occasionally. I get that Ty Lue is a first-time head coach, as was David Blatt, but these are coaches that have been around basketball for a long time so there’s no excuse.
All-Star players are versatile. Basketball is not rocket science!