When Kevin Love was traded to the Cavaliers before the 2015 season, most people assumed this would be the addition that finally brings Cleveland over the hump. LeBron is back, Kyrie Irving would be coming into his own, and the addition of Love would bring an unstoppable three headed monster.
Last year the three headed monster was broke up piece by piece throughout the playoffs as Love was injured in the first round versus the Celtics and the Cavaliers lost Kyrie Irving Game 1 of the NBA Finals. This left the Cavaliers with James running a one man show and were eventually beaten by the Warriors in a surprising six games. Fast forward to now with a fully healthy roster, and it seems that the Cavaliers are even at greater disadvantage this year, with Kevin Love at the forefront of all the scrutiny.
Love has been left in a tough spot. In the regular season, he had to battle with the hardheaded LeBron James to earn back his respect and to get the ball when he was open for a jump shot. In the playoffs, he has just not been himself. Injured twice, including a concussion in Game 2 of the Finals and nothing seems to be going Love’s way.
Since this series started, the individual weaknesses of Kevin Love have shined very bright, and it is not just stuck to Love. Kyrie Irving has been just as bad. Specifically, the Cavaliers have been a significantly worse defensive team when Love and Irving have been on the floor. During last year’s Finals, when Love and Irving were on the sideline, the Cavs killed the offensive and defensive glass when they had Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson, and LeBron James. This year the Warriors have shot 51.5% through two games and have only been to the free throw line 20 times, a big difference from last year.
Kevin Love needs to figure out what is best for his NBA career. Is it worth trying to stick it out in Cleveland and hope for a title as a third option? Or should he go elsewhere and be the second option or even first option on offense? If he were to leave Cleveland, then he is losing his chance at a title, but is increasing his chances for Hall of Fame caliber numbers.
For now, the offseason stuff has to be put aside, and the Cavaliers have to figure this out fairly quickly. One thing is for sure, if the Cavaliers are beat after four or five games, just know that there will be overhaul in Cleveland, and Kevin Love might be at the forefront of that.