Cavs’ Kevin Love 2nd in 6MOY voting was near-cherry on top of fun year

Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports)
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /

This season was a hell of a bounce-back from Cleveland Cavaliers stretch big Kevin Love. Heading into the year, it was difficult to know what to expect from Love, who was coming off a season where he was active in only 25 games.

The season prior, Love was mostly healthy, but then, and a bit in 2020-21, he had visible frustration at times on the floor, and based on how things were going, it did appear that he and the Cavaliers could be headed for a split.

Now, Love throughout his time with the Cavs has been a player whose name has popped in trade rumors, dating back to before LeBron James left for the second time, too. He still has lasted, though, and this season, it was a pleasure to see him have a resurgent campaign.

It was again uncertain as to what we’d see out of Love in what was likely to be a move to a bench role for Cleveland, heading into the season, but Love seemed to be very bought-in and throughout the year, he gave the team a lift time and time again.

He didn’t produce All-Star numbers or anything; even still, Love was stellar in a move to a key bench shooter role, and on the season, had 13.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists per outing. He connected on 39.2 percent of his three-point attempts, and was so effective when he was in there, typically, and his bench production was crucial for a Cavaliers team that turned a corner this year, despite ultimately missing the postseason.

With that in mind, it was great to see Love honored as a finalist for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award. That award ultimately went to the Miami Heat’s Tyler Herro, who was more than deserving, and had a whopping 96 first place votes, whereas Love had three. Love still finished second with 214 total voting points, and 58 second place votes, whereas Cam Johnson of the Phoenix Suns was third with 128 total voting points and 27 second place votes.

Regardless, it was a heck of a year from Love in 2021-22, and it was a near-cherry on top for such an entertaining season.

Love finishing second for 6MOY for his work for the Cavs was a near-cherry on top of a fun year.

Love earlier in the season seemed to have a legit case for the Sixth Man of the Year, and this result doesn’t diminish what he did for the Wine and Gold this season. Objectively, though, this year’s Sixth Man of the Year award was Herro’s to lose.

The three-level scorer and underrated playmaker had a career year, and was a big-time player for the Eastern Conference’s #1 seed in Miami.

That said, this season was a terrific one in this transition to a new role for Love. It had been a few very tough years for him, and we don’t have to rehash there.

This season, however, even with the Cavaliers’ lackluster finish to the year, injuries for the team, and players such as Jarrett Allen aside, Love killed it in this move to a bench supersub role.

He again connected on 39.2 percent of his 6.4 three-point attempts per contest, and despite playing only 22.5 minutes per contest, he had the third-most threes in a single season in Cavs history with 187. That wasn’t too shabby from the 33-year-old vet, especially given the uncertainties regarding his outlook coming into the season.

Now, looking at next year, I’d imagine we should see Love again with the Cavaliers next season, but he’s currently set to be on an expiring deal for $28.9 million, with 2022-23 being the end of his previous huge extension. Maybe he could theoretically be an expiring trade piece, and others are of course involved for the Cavs.

With what he provided for the Cavs this season, though, I still think we could see Love have a big impact again off the bench, provided he can stay healthy. And if the team can manage him again how they did in 2021-22, I do believe that’s reasonable, too.

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I can’t say that we can see this sort of result again from Love next year, for certain. But that does seem doable. For now, Love placing second in the Sixth Man of the Year voting for this season was awesome to see, and was a great near-cherry on top of a fun season.