By: Monte Perez
Kevin Love is a free agent, but don’t worry Cleveland, Sam Amico of Fox Sports has reported that Love recently indicated to the franchise that he does, in fact, plan on returning to the Cavaliers this off-season. In order for the Cavs to resign Love and Tristan Thompson they will have to move back up center Brendan Haywood and his contract. Haywood is scheduled to make $10,522,500 next season.
From the moment Love signed with the Cavs, he has been scrutinized, dissected and evaluated on almost every play, every quarter and every game. I don’t understand where this is coming from? Fans and Media have been unmercifully critical of the former Minnesota Timberwolves and UCLA Bruin power forward. Love was selected 5th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft. Love improved his game and his stats every year in Minnesota, here is a list of his accomplishments:
• 3× NBA All-Star (2011–2012, 2014)
• 2× All-NBA Second Team (2012, 2014)
• NBA Most Improved Player (2011)
• NBA All-Rookie Second Team (2009)
• NBA Three-Point Shootout champion (2012)
• NBA rebounding leader (2011)
• Love was the only player in the history of the NBA to make 190 three point baskets while averaging over 12 rebounds per game.
• Olympic Gold Medal Winner
The critics of Love will say the he is just a “numbers guy” or a “stat stuffer” on a losing team. This is one of the greatest lies, or misconceptions in the history of the NBA. Because his teams were so bad in MN, every team tried to stop Love and they still couldn’t do it. Love is not a volume shooter, like a Carmelo Anthony or Allen Iverson, he is an efficient scorer who can beat you inside and out. Without any legitimate all stars on his roster, in 2013-14, Love averaged:
Love: 26.1 points, 12.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, shot 37% from three point range and 82% from the free throw line.
Here is a list of the last 4 MVP’s in comparison:
Stephen Curry: 23.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists, shot 44% from three point range and 91% from the free throw line.
Kevin Durant: 32 points, 7.4 rebounds, 5.5 assists, shot 39% from three point range and 87% from the free throw line.
LeBron James: 25.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 6.6 assists, shot 37% from three point range and 77% from the foul line.
Derek Rose: 25 points, 4.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists, shot 33% from three point range and 85% from the foul line.
There has never been a power forward in the history of the NBA with Love’s skill set. He is a double/ double machine, he can ignite the break with his outlet passing and stretch the floor by shooting the three.
During his first year with the Cavs Love averaged 16.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2 assists per game.
His numbers were down because he was the third option on this team, behind James and Kyrie Irving. Other than Kevin Durant there is not another player in the NBA who would average more points per game if they were on Cleveland. James and Irving dominate the ball and take the majority of the shots. Love took 6 less shots per game this year. Yet, his numbers were amazing. Look at the other 3rd options for the teams that made it to the Eastern and Western Conference Finals, compared to Love’s.
Golden State Warriors: Draymond Green, 11.7 points. 8.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game
Houston Rockets: Trevor Ariza, 12.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game
Atlanta Hawks: Al Horford, 15.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists.
Love is not a “stat stuffer” on a losing team, he is a great NBA basketball player. There is a reason Mike Krzyzewski picked the power forward to be on the 2012 Olympic Basketball Team. Love was 5th on that team in scoring behind Durant, James, Anthony and Kobe Bryant, and he led the team in rebounding.
Love is doing what he is supposed to be doing on the Cavs roster. He is scoring, stretching the floor and rebounding. He has an incredible basketball IQ and his numbers will go up as he gets more comfortable with the team. Does anyone really believe that Golden State would have defeated Cleveland in the Finals if Love was healthy? He is the ultimate stretch 4 and there has never been a player like him. Appreciate him NBA fans and media, he will never put up numbers like he did in Minnesota because he has two of the best scorers in the NBA on his roster. Love is a winner and a success… Get off his back!
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