Cavs Player Grades: Kevin Love excels in move to bench role

Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports) /

It was a tough ending to the 2021-22 season for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who lost two play-in games versus the Brooklyn Nets and Atlanta Hawks last week, which prevented them from reaching the Eastern Conference Playoffs. That’s disheartening for some, which I get, as the team was 35-23 heading into the All-Star festivities hosted in Cleveland, and then, the team was fourth in the East.

Injuries played a role in the club’s demise post-All-Star break, in particular, and the team was not close to the same defensively. Jarrett Allen‘s injury didn’t help, and Caris LeVert missing time post-All-Star didn’t help him establish a consistent rhythm nearly enough.

Even taking all of that into account, the Wine and Gold having 44 wins this season, a 22-win improvement from 2020-21, was quite a feat, and the club seems to be on an upward trajectory. That, to me, is still the overall takeaway from this season, and I’m looking forward to how the club can keep improving next season.

For now, though, it is meaningful to look back at how individual performers on the Cavaliers did during this 2021-22 campaign, and here, I wanted to take a closer look at how Kevin Love did.

Before the season, it was difficult to know what to expect from Love, with him coming off two injury-riddled seasons in the past three, and there being moments of visible frustration from him on the court, even more so in 2019-20. This was also with the sign-and-trade arrival of Lauri Markkanen from the Chicago Bulls, and Evan Mobley‘s draft selection, among other things.

It was rumored that Love would feasibly have a reduced role coming into the season, which appeared reasonable, but it still wasn’t clear in relation to how he’d do, and if he’d be a meaningful contributor game-to-game with others involved.

Fortunately, Love did very well, and in a shift to a bench role, was rejuvunated.

So how did Love grade out for the Cavs in 2021-22, then? We’ll examine that here.

In that realm, let’s get into Love’s grades for this now recently-concluded season for Cleveland, beginning with the offensive end.