Feelin’ the Love: Why Kevin Love’s Emergence is Key
The Cavs Big 3 has certainly lived up to its name in recent weeks. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving have gotten off to great starts this season, but recently, Kevin Love has picked up his scoring prowess. Last week, Love averaged 24 points and 12 rebounds, while shooting 50 percent from the field and 45 percent from three. For the season, Love is averaging 22 and 11.
I’m not like most people who think that there’s not enough basketball for three players to dominate, I believe with a little creativity, there’s enough possessions and time in a NBA game to get three superstars involved. The Cavs through two and a quarter seasons, have had a simple schedule for Love: feed him early in the first quarter and get him going early. Their strategy hasn’t changed much this season, but lately Love has really been thriving in this role. His most obvious moment was last week when he set an NBA record with 34 points in the first quarter. Even in that game, Love only got six more shots in the last three quarters, and finished with 40 points. I do think that the Cavs need to do a better job of using him throughout the game instead of just giving a heavy dose of Love early on.
But like I said, Love has really thrived in his role this season. His confidence has been sky high since the NBA Finals, and I believe it’s because of his non-scoring contributions in the final games. I think his defensive stand against Curry really earned him the ultimate respect from his teammates, and their confidence in him has been elevated since then. With a confident K-Love, the Cavs are now that much more dangerous.
If Love continues to play at this high level, I believe the Cavs will start using him more in different parts of a game, making him that much more effective. LeBron will always provide open looks and shots for his teammates, and Love has done an amazing job of knocking down his open shots this season. If he continues to master those shots, it will be a lot easier to start to get him involved in different positions. Post ups, his elbow sets, more pick-and-roll movements, the possibilities will be endless for how the Cavs can use him. If they decide to work on Love’s constant mismatches every time down the floor, Love can make Irving and James’ jobs that much easier. I believe that the Cavs will be at their very best when the constantly run plays where their Big 3 are put in positions to make plays for each other.
I don’t like paying Love over $100 million dollars to be nothing more than a stretch big. If they now have confidence in his abilities, I think they should run more plays through him and scatter them throughout each game. I like the fact that they try to force him into open shots in the first quarter, because you want to get him going. Once he’s hit his shots, he should be good to go for the rest of the contest. If they expand their playbook on K-Love plays, and use the sparingly in the second and third quarters, I think his contribution to the team will be even greater, and the Cavs will be unstoppable.
I think what we’ve seen this week is just a sample of what’s to come from Kevin Love and the Cavs. And if I’m the rest of the league, I would be worried. We use to ask “Where’s the Love?” Now, there seems to be more Love than the league can handle.