Coach Tyronn Lue has high hopes for PF Kevin Love this season, saying “he’s going to have the best year that he’s had here.” That’s a bold statement to make considering Love just came off what already was his best season as he averaged 19 points and just over 11 rebounds. But the Cavs have made a lot of changes this offseason that at first glance would suggest that Love’s production could decrease. However, it will be just the opposite.
Kevin Love has been a streaky shooter for the Cavs the past three seasons. Typically, Love shines the most when he is fed the ball early and often, which is hard to do on a game-to-game basis when you have Kyrie and LeBron on the floor at the same time. But with Kyrie gone and Isaiah Thomas now at point guard, wouldn’t Kevin Love’s numbers stay the same or even dip?
Well, not exactly. The Cavs have done a great job this offseason making moves that strengthen the bench. Derrick Rose, Jose Calderon, Jae Crowder and Jeff Green are just a few of the notable editions that the Cavs expect to hit the floor this season. This depth will allow Thomas and LeBron to play less minutes and perhaps lift some tension off of their shoulders. When one or both of them are on the bench, Love has a great opportunity to be the #1 scoring option. If the Cavs can manage to implement this strategy at least once in the first half of every game, Love should get a groove going more often.
Lue also suggested that Love will get more touches on the elbow this season. Love should have no problem doing that when Thomas is on the floor. Thomas has spent his whole career relying on pick and rolls and avoiding double teams given his deadly shooting when uncontested and Love has flourished in this type of offense. In addition to this, I expect Love’s assist numbers to go up when Thomas is able to break free and Love feeds him from the post, which is bound to happen at least once per game.
It’s hard to speculate a player’s production before a season begins when any player can be moved or traded, but I do expect Love to reach the 20-point per game mark this season. I think offensively the new Big 3 could be more potent than the past couple years, but their collective defense could be an issue down the road. The same style of offense from Love should be expected, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him take less threes and go for more post moves.
The Cavs have a new identity this season. Tyronn Lue knows Kevin Love’s offensive identity will come to life once again.
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