Kevin Love was frustrated at the start of last season. He wasn’t getting as many touches as he was used to, and he was being forced out of his comfort zone on offense (if only Chris Bosh had warned him about all this).
Heading into the second season of the Cavaliers’ big three era, everyone around the team is saying the right things about getting Love more touches in his spots on the floor — LeBron James, coach David Blatt, even Love himself. Which is what you should expect at the start of training camp, the offense hasn’t been put under any stress yet.
It’s just a comfort level thing if you ask LeBron and Love, as Dave McMenamin of ESPN did.
“I just think he’s more comfortable in the situation that he’s in,” James said after practice Wednesday. “He’s got a year under his belt; he knows what he expects out of himself and what his teammates expect out of him. I expect big things from him this year with a year up under his belt.”
That’s two uses of “under his belt” in one paragraph, so you know LeBron is serious.
“I think all of us will be more comfortable with what we’re trying to do out there,” Love said. “I think that, like I said (Monday), it all starts with the big man, No. 23, and it all kind of trickles down from there. I think if all the pieces fit together as we expect, we’ll be a tough team to deal with.”
Coach David Blatt has bothered to watch film and think about this.
“No question, this summer we looked for and identified ways that we can take advantage of Kev’s unique skill set and hopefully we’ll see that on the floor,” Blatt said.
I’d say this is the most important one, the coach saying he has come up with sets that play to Love’s strengths, save for one little detail — Blatt’s offensive designs are not the ones the Cavs often run. Last year’s Cavaliers’ offense looked nothing like what he ran in Europe or tried to install in training camp, LeBron and Kyrie Irving pushed them to a more traditional/predictable offense (which worked for them because of their talent level).
Love is going to get more touches to start this season, in large part because Irving will be sidelined. But when LeBron and Irving — two players who like the ball in their hands and to penetrate — are both back on the court, will things really change for Love? It’s one of the questions the Cavaliers need to answer during the season if they are going to challenge whatever team comes out of the West into the NBA Finals.