Tag: Kevin Love

Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers

Cavaliers rate well when adjusting for playoff rotations. Warriors rate better

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This is the NBA Finals matchup we wanted all along.

Or close, at least.

It would have been a little better with a healthy Kevin Love and no injury questions about Kyrie Irving and Klay Thompson.

But the teams are right.

The Warriors have ranked No. 1 when adjusting to playoff rotation at every step. The Cavaliers started second in the league (and way atop the Eastern Conference), dipped after Love’s injury and recovered to show their chops without him.

A reminder how these adjusted rankings are calculated:

In an attempt to get better data, I’ve used nba wowy! to rank playoff teams by regular-season net rating (offensive rating minus defensive rating), counting only the lineups that include five players projected to be in the team’s post-season rotation.

This measure is far from perfect. It doesn’t account for opponent or weigh lineups based on how often they’ll be used in the postseason, and it’s impossible to precisely predict a team’s playoff rotation.

Here are the NBA Finalists’ ratings – actual regular-season to projected based on expected rotations:

1. Golden State Warriors

Projected rotation: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, Leandro Barbosa, Festus Ezeli

  • Offensive rating: 111.7 to 114.0
  • Defensive rating: 101.3 to 97.1
  • Net rating: +10.4 to +16.9

2. Cleveland Cavaliers

Projected rotation: Kyrie Irving, J.R. Smith, LeBron James, Tristan Thompson, Timofey Mozgov, Iman Shumpert, Matthew Dellavedova, James Jones

  • Offensive rating: 111.7 to 114.8
  • Defensive rating: 106.9 to 102.5
  • Net rating: +4.8 to +12.3


  • The big question is injuries. I included Klay Thompson (who reportedly expects to play Game 1) and Kyrie Irving (whom David Blatt said hasn’t looked like himself in practice) in their teams’ rotations.
  • The Warriors rate a little worse without Thompson with an offensive rating/defensive rating/net rating of 109.9/96.0/+13.9 in 429 minutes. The drop is entirely on offense, as the defense rates slightly better.
  • The Cavaliers actually rate better overall – the gains coming entirely on defense – without Irving (114.1/93.7/+20.4 in 405 minutes). It’s easy to see how Cleveland fares better defensively without Irving, and in that limited sample, the offense holds up behind heavy usage from LeBron. That’s probably unsustainable over the long run against Golden State. Irving is key to the Cavaliers not over-taxing LeBron.
  • The Cavaliers appear to have a small offensive advantage, the Warriors a significant defensive advantage.
  • Golden State has used a nine-man rotation for most of the playoffs, Cleveland eight. If the Warriors are challenged, they can probably shorten their rotation and improve.

Kevin Love aggravated shoulder injury in Eastern Conference-champion celebration

Atlanta Hawks v Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four

Kevin Love had surgery on his injured shoulder, and he says he’ll be ready to go for the 2015-16 season opener (playing for the Cavaliers, no less).

But his recovery could have taken a wrong turn after Cleveland won the Eastern Conference finals.

Love, via Cleveland.com:

“I walk out there, the teammate will remain nameless, I go up and give him a big hug [and I said] ‘congratulations’ and he takes his arm and he goes, ‘Ah yeah man, good game’ and just hits me right on the arm,” Love playfully explained. “Some of the front office staff who was out there with me kind of had to grab me and said, ‘Are you OK?'”

“I had one of those moments where I was like, ‘Oh man, I’m going to have to go back to the locker room. How is that going to look? Will I have to have to sit down?’ So I just tried to take a deep breath, calm myself and got home and iced as quickly as [possible],” Love said.

“It was one of those deals where it was kind of shooting pain through my entire body, but I was a little woozy and kind of all over the place for a few minutes but I was able to calm myself down,” Love said.

Jeez, Cavs. Love said he’d stay in Cleveland. You can stop being so mean to him now.

On the bright side, Love said he’s fine now.

Kevin Love to Kelly Olynyk: “Hey, it’s all good”


After the above injury — which required surgery to repair and ended Kevin Love’s playoffs — Love wanted nothing to do with Boston’s Kelly Olynyk. Love thought the injury was intentional.

But he’s moved past it.

At least that’s what Love said Sunday when speaking to the media, as reported by Adam Himmelsbach at the Boston Globe.

“About a week went by, I reached out to Kelly, sent him a text, said, ‘Hey, it’s all good,’” Love told reporters in Cleveland on Sunday. “You know, it was a tough play, and we just move on from there.”

Love’s arm may be hurting a little still, his prospects are not. Nothing like free agent options to get you past an injury.

Love can opt out this summer, become a free agent, and then re-sign with the Cavaliers for $2.3 million more. Then he would have an opt out after one year and then become a free agent again (or in two years) when the salary cap spikes. If you don’t like that option he can opt in and try to get by on $16.3 million for a year, then become a free agent.

If you’re expecting Love to bolt Cleveland, you may well be disappointed.