Cleveland Cavaliers: Kevin Love seems to be finding his groove

Cleveland Cavaliers big Kevin Love shoots the ball. (Photo by Lauren Bacho/Getty Images)
Cleveland Cavaliers big Kevin Love shoots the ball. (Photo by Lauren Bacho/Getty Images) /

Kevin Love hasn’t been able to go for most of this season for the Cleveland Cavaliers because of complications involving a right calf injury/soreness with that.

In a season that’s featured the NBA packing in games to get the campaign/postseason in and back to normalcy for next season and onward, it’s made things especially tricky on the injury front in 2020-21.

Love has also had a ton of injury issues over the course of his tenure with the Cavaliers, and largely due to prior back problems and other ailments, at this point, it’s apparent that Love’s not nearly the volume low-post player he was before. That’s not a big deal to me, particularly in today’s NBA, although we’ll see some Love low-post looks here and there still.

But Love is still a highly capable mid-post player, and we’ll see those sort of looks from him a decent share, conversely, as he uses ball fakes and jabs well to create space for mid-range shots.

With the 32-year-old big, at this juncture, what’s really crucial for him is the three-point shooting element/spacing boost he provides when he’s out there. The Cavaliers again haven’t had that much this season, albeit it appears that he’s getting back to having his legs much more under him, if you will.

Love seems to be finding his groove for the Cavs.

Love’s only appeared in just 10 games, but the minutes-share has been increasing gradually, dating back to his first game back with some notable volume against the Philadelphia 76ers on April 1.

That one was an awful second half for the Cavs, even without Joel Embiid in that one. Love did have quite the start there and had 13 points and hit three three-point looks in the first quarter, and only played five second half minutes on a minutes restriction, though.

And in the past four games for Cleveland in this past week, Love has had 16.0 points per outing, and most notably, has hit 39.4 percent of his triple attempts. That’s been on 8.3 attempts per contest, too, which is a more than healthy clip.

Love’s gotten it going off-the-catch via ball-swing deliveries, pick-and-pop looks, and has gotten some nice looks to go from faking dribble handoffs then stepping into pull-up 3s. Plus, as a counter, the well-timed pump fakes for Love have helped generate nice free throw chances at times from deep.

It’s been nice to see Love have it going here in the past three to four games, really, and again, he looks to be getting more comfortable for Cleveland. The added spacing he’s provided has been a boost, and in some spurts the rest of the way, even with Allen and Larry Nance Jr. back reportedly on Wednesday at the Charlotte Hornets, per’s Chris Fedor, I could foresee Love getting some burn with Dean Wade still.

We’ll have to see regarding the two-man/pick-and-pop stuff with Darius Garland, who missed the Cavs’ past game against the Pels and he seems a bit banged up with a right ankle sprain. But Kevin should still get quality looks from others, such as Matthew Dellavedova, among others, and even Isaiah Hartenstein to some degree.

Moreover, while I do still have my reservations when it comes to Love playing say, 30-plus minutes until the end of the season a bunch in games, and I previously didn’t think he should be playing over half of games the rest of the way, he has looked good.

He’s gotten seemingly more comfortable game-to-game since his first meaningful return, which has been a positive.

And although Love, given the prior trade rumors, could seemingly be dealt down the road, perhaps in the offseason, or early on next season, or maybe a buyout conversation could be in the cards eventually, Love’s still valuable. Him recently passing Mark Price to move up to #2 in Cavs history in three-pointers made is further evidence of that, too.

When he’s available, the added spacing helps out other guys, and Kevin’s defensive rebounding and passing abilities aid the Wine and Gold as well. If Love keeps it up/stays healthier the rest of the season, perhaps that could be a factor for the Cavs making a run for the play-in.

Taking a look at the Cavs Player of the Week for April 5-11. dark. Next

Cleveland’s May schedule is set to be very tough, though, so we’ll see on that.