The Cavaliers traded for Kevin Love last summer to give LeBron James and Kyrie Irving a formidable third option for opposing defenses to concern themselves with.
But in Friday night’s loss to the Hawks, one in which Atlanta’s game plan revolved around shutting James and Irving down, Love was unable to help offensively in the way his team envisioned.
Cleveland doesn’t use Love in the post, despite his ability to score inside. He took 10 of his 11 shots from three-point distance in this one — a trend that’s become increasingly more consistent in recent games, and one that Love knows isn’t the best overall use of his talents.
Love is launching 8.1 threes per contest in his last seven games. His highest rate of threes taken was last season in Minnesota when he shot 6.6 a game, and that was along with the inside touches he received. No matter what the statistics suggest, Love is not in agreement on the big-man long distance tag.
“I heard some people calling me that but I know I’m not a stretch-four,” Love told NEOMG. “I’m a post player that can shoot. Right now I’m just doing what I’m called to do. For good, bad or indifferent, I’m playing my role and doing what’s asked of me. Tonight, I stayed out on the perimeter.”
Remarks like these from Love are part of the reason many believe he may be in play as a free agent this summer, despite what he’s said on the matter time and again.
Only a disastrous postseason is likely to have Love truly looking to play elsewhere, but his more limited offensive role behind Irving and James — and the fact that he’s being reduced to nothing more than a three-point shooter — may end up having a little to do with it, as well.