Cavs: Less, but ‘more efficient minutes’ for Kevin Love would be ideal

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

Kevin Love did not have the season he would’ve wanted last year, as he was active in only 25 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers, mostly because of right calf injury complications. Cavs general manager Koby Altman in his end-of-season media availability noted that Love was not at any point at 100 percent either, and that even coming back from his injury, he likely came back too soon initially.

There were still some positive moments/game from Love, and early-to-mid-April, he did appear to be getting himself going as a shooter.

On the season overall, Love did end up knocking in 36.5 percent of his three-point attempts, which wasn’t bad on the surface. The problem was for Love, he couldn’t string stretches of games together where he looked to be nearly the shooter he can be, and was the previous season, to a large extent.

Love did have a 30-point effort in a win over the Boston Celtics near the end of the campaign, and hit six-of-nine from three-point range, but he didn’t have any 20-point efforts other than that among his other 24 active.

Again, Love being banged up didn’t help, though, and as Altman hit on, the offseason ahead will be crucial for him to get healthy, and also, for him to work on his game/find his rhythm. I do think that will play out, and Love reportedly will be focused on those things.

Nonetheless, for the veteran stretch big, while I would anticipate he’ll start when feasible/if he can be healthy heading into next season, in a general sense, I probably wouldn’t expect him to be playing over say, 27 minutes regularly. Last season was not typical in that way, and he only played in 24.9 minutes per outing in those appearances; some of that was minutes-restriction based, in fairness.

Regardless, it is still evident that Love probably shouldn’t be playing over 27 minutes that frequently for Cleveland, given the injury complications/history he’s had in recent seasons.

And along those lines, per a report from Spencer Davies of, it does seem that the Cavs are looking for likely less than say, 31-plus minutes, by comparison, for Love, and they’re stressing for him to be efficient, per Davies’ source. Davies stated they are still valuing Kevin here, to put that out there, and on that subject, the Cavs and Love have not any conservations about a buyout at all either, per a report from Chris Fedor of

Circling back, here was what Davies’ report stated involving Love’s outlook.

"‘Probably at reduced minutes, but more efficient minutes and with a guise to try and get him in as many games as he can play because we’re a better team when he’s healthy and playing games. We just have to manage that better,’ the source added.'”"

That approach by the Cavs with Love would be ideal.

Love had only 12.2 points per contest last season, and while the minutes-share being slightly over half of games did coincide with that, he just didn’t have nearly the impact on games that he’s capable of.

The spacing element was still there, which aided the likes of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, for example, and that should still be the case. It will be, with how Love, when he’s himself and/or mostly healthy, is one of the best catch-and-shoot/stretch bigs in the NBA.

The prior season, even with some ebs and flows in the year, he did still have a solid 17.6 points per outing and hit 37.4 percent from three-point land on 7.0 attempts per outing, which was nothing to sneeze at.

And unlike this past season, the consistency for stretches of games was there much more so as a shooter, and given his mid-range/mid-post success then, I do believe we should see some more of those looks from him next season. In 2019-20, Love hit 60.5 percent of his shot attempts from 10-16 feet out, and 46.7 percent of his attempts from 16 feet to the three-point line.

Though the frequency of those was 11.1 and 10.3 percent, his proficiency in those spots after utilizing ball fakes and jab steps did get him more in-rhythm at times in games, and we didn’t see much of that when he was in there in 2020-21.

So based on Davies’ report, and the prior season, I could foresee more of those looks to perhaps get Love going from time to time next season, and he’s more than capable of being a viable playmaker in those scenarios, as a counter.

Moreover, regarding 2021-22 for Kevin, even while he will be 33 in September and he’s set to make nearly $60 million over the next two seasons, he’s still a valuable player as a stretch big, elite defensive rebounder and quality passer when healthy.

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Albeit I do want Dean Wade/Larry Nance, perhaps some at the 3 and 5 to accommodate others, to get their share of opportunities, and we’ll see involving a potential combo forward draft pick; so that’d play into Love playing not often over 27 or so minutes, I’d imagine. And frankly, at this point, that’d be ideal.