For the second year in a row, Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love did not make the All-Star team. And for the second year in a row, Love doesn’t really understand why.
Heading into the break, as arguably the second-best player on a first-place team, the three-time All-Star was averaging 15.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, shooting 36.8 percent behind the 3-point line.
He was good, but according to the fans, coaches and NBA commissioner Adam Silver, Love wasn’t good enough. And it kind of bothered him (via Cleveland.com):
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That meant Love was not only snubbed once, not twice, but three times. The first occurred when the coaches didn't vote for him as a reserve; and the second was commissioner Adam Silver inserting Pau Gasol into the game in the place of his injured teammate Jimmy Butler. Silver also made the call to fly Horford in. And Love didn't turn down an invitation. He was not asked to fly to Toronto. He said he “most certainly would” have left his vacation spot to travel north. After processing what he read on his account, Love said he shrugged his shoulders and continued on about his business. “I just enjoyed my break but I just thought, 'what the (bleep),' ” the power forward said to Cleveland.com about his reaction. “Whatever. Just keep moving.”
Love might have a point. He’s a better offensive weapon than Chicago’s Pau Gasol and Atlanta’s Al Horford, and his team is nearly 10 points per 100 possessions better when he’s on the floor.
But the narrative doesn’t care about any of that. The Cavaliers are supposed to dominate their competition. As unfair as that sounds, Love is Cleveland’s scapegoat because his individual play isn’t quite what it used to be, and his defensive effort drifts from "acceptable" to "atrocious" depending on the night.
He’s in trade rumors and viewed as the main reason Cleveland doesn’t play up to its potential (even though this team is really, really good and he’s a huge reason why).
It’s hard to justify most of the criticism Love receives on a daily baiss, but the good news is he has the opportunity to solidify his standing as one of the league’s best power forwards if he can help lead the Cavaliers to their very first NBA championship this season.
And that’s way more important than an All-Star berth, anyway.