Cleveland Cavaliers: Grading Kevin Love’s 2019-20 season thus far

Cleveland Cavaliers big man Kevin Love shoots the ball. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Kevin Love shoots the ball. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
3 of 4
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Kevin Love and Cleveland guard Collin Sexton talk in-game. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Taking a look at Love’s defensive play

It’s not like we’ve ever confused Love for a lockdown defensive big. That’s never been the case, and it wasn’t the case this season to this point.

More from King James Gospel

Love still has his issues in terms of on-ball defensive play, and his lack of lateral quickness prevents him from being a competent switchout defender in pick-and-roll coverage against smaller and/or more athletic perimeter ball-handlers.

That will never be something Love’s going to do all that well, and I’d like to see Love be more willing to defend physical opposing 5’s. Love, given his grocery list of an injury history, is not a player raising his hand to do that all that often, though.

Earlier on in the season, we saw too many instances when Love’s rotating closeouts weren’t nearly crisp enough, either, in terms of the team-defensive sense.

On the plus side, though, as the year progressed and much more during the past few months leading up to the season’s suspension, Love’s closeouts and rotations were much better, and that was great to see.

On another positive note, what has been something Love’s consistently displayed is that he’s been more than willing to take charges, as evidenced by him being credited for drawing a decent nine charges thus far this season, per’s hustle statistics. That number honestly seems low to me as well, and Love does have impressive instincts for drawing those whistles.

While he’s not a rim protector, Love having 8.8 defensive rebounds per game is something I’ll always appreciate, too, and that’s led to plenty of Love touchdown passes to pieces such as Sexton and Osman going the other way. Those always provide a spark for the Cleveland Cavaliers, too.

Love’s defensive grade thus far in 2019-20: C

In terms of grading for Love’s defense thus far this year, I’d say a fair grade is a C, as he was much better with Bickerstaff as the squad’s head coach, and his effort was much better as a rotator for the prior two or so months leading into the season’s suspension. I know he’s limited on-ball defensively, though.