Cavs: Kevin Love still can be valuable, but needs to shoot it better
Whether many Cleveland Cavaliers fans like it or not, it’s difficult to foresee Kevin Love not being with the team at the start of next season.
Love still has two years left on his contract with Cleveland, and he’s set to make over $60 million left in those years. Now, could Love and the Cavs possibly execute a buyout at some point down the road?
I wouldn’t think that’s completely outside the realm of possibility, but I wouldn’t anticipate that this offseason/before next season. That probably wouldn’t be the case in relation to a potential waive-and-stretch of Love either, given the deal at this point.
Nonetheless, last season, it was a disappointing one for Love, objectively. Of course, he was limited to being in for only 25 games for starters, mostly because of a right calf injury.
The condensed season schedule didn’t help, albeit all teams had the same predicament.
Even when Love was able to go, mostly from April onward/some post-All-Star prior to that, he was reportedly not 100 percent during this now-past season, though. It did show to an extent and while it did appear that he was getting into some of a rhythm, we didn’t see it nearly enough.
In his 24 games, Love had an underwhelming 12.2 points per outing, and though his 36.5 percent three-point hit rate wasn’t bad on the surface, the deep shooting game-to-game from him wasn’t there nearly as much.
Hopefully next season after a productive offseason when he can get himself right/get plenty of work in, Love can be more in-rhythm game-to-game to aid others such as Darius Garland, Collin Sexton and Isaac Okoro, among others.
And while fans might not be crazy supporters of it, I can still understand why Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman stated in end-of-season media availability that he still believes Love is a valuable piece for Cleveland. Here was more on that/how Altman still thought Love probably came back too early from his calf strain initially, via Spencer Davies of Basketballnews.com.
Now, the leadership element from Love via Altman, of which you can view more on here, one can read into with a grain of salt. Him being a fan of the young core is a plus as well.
But either way, Love I still believe can be very productive/meaningful with his shooting presence for others and his defensive rebounding/playmaking can aid the club too.
The key is that the shooting must be more on-par.
Love can still be valuable if the shooting is more on-point for him for the Cavs.
Again, Love was out seemingly out of rhythm in 2020-21, and though I’m not suggesting he might not have some injury problems at times next season, given the history, he can still aid the young core/other guys.
Albeit as was noted, the shot needs to be there for game-to-game from him. He did have a 30-point game in Cleveland’s last victory of the season over the then-shorthanded Boston Celtics, however, he didn’t have any 20-point games prior to that last season.
That said, in mid-April, he did seem to be getting into a better shooting groove before somewhat tailing off. Granted, Love wasn’t in the best rhythm, by and large, but if he can get himself going early on next season, he’s still one of the most capable catch-and-shoot bigs in the NBA.
Additionally, while Love is not much of a low post presence at this point at 32 other than with cross-matching, he still can make things happen in the mid-post via jabs and ball fakes. We didn’t see much of that in 2020-21, and next season, hopefully he’s more assertive in that way when the opportunities arise.
Anyhow, with Kevin at this point, for his preservation, I wouldn’t expect him to be regularly playing over say, 26 minutes. And the likes of Larry Nance Jr. (if healthy), Dean Wade and/or potentially a draft pick such as Scottie Barnes to some degree will be in the mix at the 4, depending on matchups; we’ll see Love in there with those guys at times regardless.
But to drive the point home, Love can still be valuable for the Cavs if the shot is more on, particularly from deep, game-to-game.
If that plays out, maybe Cleveland could eventually trade Love; I’m not touching that today though, as it’s wishful thinking at this juncture.