Big 2 + Kevin
This summer, when Cavaliers GM David Griffin orchestrated one of the most incredible offseasons in league history, we expected big things, fast. Obviously, as we’ve all come to realize it doesn’t quite work that way.
Even so, a few more moves as the season progressed to acquire veterans SF Iman Shumpert, SG JR Smith, and C Timofey Mozgov and these Cavaliers are well on their way to competing for a championship come June.
Besides the return of King James, it was the trading of new draftee Andrew Wiggins, former number one overall pick Anthony Bennett and a future first round pick to Minnesota all for star power forward Kevin Love that truly turned the Cavaliers into an elite franchise. In his six-year career, Love averaged 26 points and 12 boards a night. That’s insane. However, his interior defense has been criticized as, well, complete garbage. Rightfully so, I might add.
Ok, so everyone expects this team to come right out of the gate and blow each opponent out by 20. Not so fast. A lot of the blame was pushed Love’s way as his shooting percentage and amount of shots were way down.
Crazily enough, people expected Love to get an enormous amount of shots with LeBron, Kyrie and at the time Dion Waiters all on the same team. There’s simply just not enough possessions for K Love to get his normal amount of looks like he did in Minnesota.
This year, LeBron averages 18.6 shots a night, Kyrie averages 16.8 shots per contest and the Cavaliers as a whole average 82.1 shots a game. So that’s 42% of the team’s total shots just between those two. That’s around 47 shots left for the remaining players on the team.
Last season in Minnesota Love took 18.5 shots a night, 5th in the league. The next highest for the T-Wolves was Kevin Martin at 15 shots a night, 29th in the league. What a change in company. This year, the former UCLA Bruin has dropped a whopping 41 spots into a three-way tie for 46th in the league at just 14.1 per.
As interesting as all those shot statistics that I just listed are…IGNORE THEM!
The Cavaliers shouldn’t have to force the ball into or more so out to Love “just because.” We have some of the most explosive talent in basketball, so his shot amounts shouldn’t mean anything to anyone. What matters is putting that damn basketball into the hoop! Any way possible!
In my eyes, this is a Big 2 with Kevin Love being just a crucial additional component on the team. He needs to make the shots that he’s given, yes. But that is the only concerning issue. 14.1 or 18.5, it doesn’t matter. The amount of shots he should take is dictated by the flow of the game. He doesn’t get to reserve his set amount like he did back in Minnesota.
Hell, we won 12 straight with Love scuffling. Imagine how well we’d play if he was efficient with the opportunities he does get? He needs to:
- Post up more frequently.
- Continue to space the floor for open threes.
- Pump fake the three and shoot the 18 footer or take it all the way to the hoop.
- Simply put the ball in the basket when those opportunities come.
This isn’t the crappy 2013 Minnesota Timberwolves with Ricky Rubio being the second-best player on the team. We are the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers, with elite PG Kyrie Irving and a bunch of other capable scorers strapping on that Wine and Gold jersey every night. The likes of SG JR Smith, SF Iman Shumpert and C Timofey Mozgov can all put the ball in the basket too.
I’m calling out Kevin Love – Make the open shots you get! Those looks are ever-so-precious on a team like this so capitalize on them! Also, continue to rebound well, and start playing defense at a high level. That’s how you truly make a difference!
I’m calling out LBJ and the rest of the guys – You don’t need to force the ball in to or out to Kevin Love, especially when he is struggling. His ego does not matter! Winning does!
As great as 26 points a night is, Kevin Love isn’t going to average nearly that much in Cleveland. The number I’d pay attention to is his shooting percentage as a whole and from beyond the arc as well. At the moment, he’s shooting 42.7% from the floor and 34.7% from deep. Both those numbers should be way up.
Efficiency is how Kevin Love elevates this team to a new level. Not the amount of shots he takes!