Frankly, Cavs getting all the Love they need
Two more baskets. That's really all Kevin Love needs to average per game to get everyone to shut up.
Two baskets. It should be easy for a player like Love. It might still happen.
Perhaps no man in the NBA has been as scrutinized, as overanalyzed, as the Cavaliers power forward.
Some of it has been brought on by Love, of course. Some of it has been brought on by Love's superstar teammate, LeBron James. And some of it has been brought on by Love's coach, David Blatt.
None of that is earth-shattering. Not everyone is going to say the perfect thing all the time. Not when you're interviewed as much as professional basketball players and their coaches. There will be occasional missteps. And in this age of social media and millions of websites covering the game .... well, so much is misinterpreted and blown way out of proportion.
Also, much of the analysis of Love's game is coming from guys who don't play, coach or do anything but write and talk about the NBA. Some of them have never picked up a basketball, don't know basketball, and yet are experts on basketball.
But did you know at 17.1 points per game, Love is sixth among NBA power forwards in scoring? Did you know at 10.5 rebounds, he's tied for third (with Detroit's Greg Monroe)?
A lot of teams would kill for those kinds of numbers from their power forward. Especially if their power forward played alongside ball-dominant stars such as James and point guard Kyrie Irving.
Love simply doesn't need to score as much with the Cavs as he would with, say, the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Yet Love has been called everything from a "disappointment" to a "flop" from way too many members of the national media and fans.
Now, you've probably heard about the tweet sent out by James. It supposedly was telling Love to get with the program. Or was it? We're not really sure. Even Love didn't seem to know. And James sort of blamed the media for the confusion. He's right, the media is partially to blame. But so is James.
Either way, it doesn't matter. That type of silliness has nothing to do with what the Cavs (31-21) are doing on the court -- or how they've suddenly become a strong defensive team that's won 13 of 14.
Back to Love. Let's say he makes two more shots a night. That would lift his scoring average to 21.1 points. That would put him behind only New Orleans' Anthony Davis (24.5), Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge (23.7) and the LA Clippers' Blake Griffin (22.5) among power forwards. And all three of those guys are the centerpieces of their respective offenses. Certainly, none are playing with TWO high-volume shooters/scorers such as James and Irving.
Any of the three just mentioned would have to make major adjustments if they were in Love's spot. I would even venture to say none would be doing as well as Love in Cleveland. And Love is rebounding better than any of them.
Now, I don't really think Love needs to score two more baskets a game. It's just something to illustrate a larger point. The point is this: Love is just fine, and a major part of a winning program. That's all anybody should really care about.
Is he still adjusting? Well, sure. Love has had some disappointing games. As anyone who really follows the NBA will tell you, so has everyone else in the league. But unless LeBron is on your team, well, no one outside of your die-hard fan base really cares.
Because of LeBron, the Cavs are America's Team, China's Team, the world's team, and the team on which every major media outlet will place its focus.
Are things perfect in the world of Love? Again, no. He admittedly is struggling from time to time. But he's also doing almost everything that's asked -- and that is why the Cavs traded for him. It wasn't to duplicate his numbers on those losing Timberwolves teams. It wasn't to put up 25 and 18 a night. It was to fit his game around the Cavs' other stars, to sacrifice, to occasionally play like an All-Star without making the All-Star team.
So far, that's been Kevin Love. Everything else when it comes to this player, this contending team, really is irrelevant.