Kevin Love’s Struggle To Fit Not Surprising

Nov 14, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Mike Miller (18) and forward Kevin Love (0) celebrate during the second half of a game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 14, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward Mike Miller (18) and forward Kevin Love (0) celebrate during the second half of a game against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports /

Constructing a team full of offensive powerhouses like LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love will win a lot of games, but to start things off, it can be a struggle. For the Cleveland Cavaliers, that’s exactly how it’s been thus far.

James, Irving, and Love have all been individually fantastic on their teams ever since entering the league. No matter how good their teammates have been, they have had to lead by example, playing their best every game. For James, he had to carry the Miami Heat ever since arriving in South Beach. Whether you believe that or not, there is no doubt James played better than Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. While winning was made easier with those around him, James generally did most of the work.

For Irving and Love, however, they had to do crazy things and still failed to make the playoffs. Now, in Cleveland, all together, these three have to co-exist. It was expected to be somewhat of a struggle, trying to gel and learn how to play with other offensive-minded stars. Thus far, especially recently, it has been just that.

Surprisingly, Irving hasn’t played much differently than he did before all the talent came to town. He is still doing his thing, but has gotten better finding his teammates throughout the early goings. James has seemingly had to make the biggest adjustments, as he wanted to become more of a leader and distributor in the first few games. Since then, James has realized he needs to just play his game and the assists will come with the flow of the game.

Love, on the other hand, hasn’t fit in quite as well as some of the other pieces.

While Love hasn’t struggled in the rebounding department — as he shouldn’t, because being a good rebounder won’t change — the scoring has been up and down, especially in the last few games. After starting off well as far as points per game go, Love has failed to post more than 13 points in three of the Cavs’ last four games. Love shot 11-of-34 (32 percent) in those three games.

When watching the games, you can tell Love just isn’t as involved as he’d like to be. There are lots of possessions where Love will just sit out on the perimeter, and while that’s not horrible seeing his success from behind the arc, not moving can cause the offense overall to become stale. Cleveland’s offense hasn’t been hurt too much from it, ranking 5th in offensive efficiency, but standing around could eventually cause problems.

"“It’s come to a point where I’m just trying to find myself in this offense,” Love told ESPN. “It’s almost related to when you come into the league; usually the guys that dominate the ball so much tend to learn a lot quicker than a guy like myself, a big man. So I’m just trying to find different spots in the offense.“I’ll just say we’re 10 games in, we’re looking at different stuff. I need to find myself. I think everybody knew coming in that we’d have to sacrifice, but at some point we’re going to need some low-post scoring and some outside shooting.”"

For Love, as he mentioned above, he’s had to sacrifice a lot offensively. In Minnesota, he was the only guy Ricky Rubio and friends would pass to, and that’s how it should have been. In Cleveland, that’s not the case.

Love also mentioned how Cleveland would need some outside shooting and low-post scoring eventually, and maybe that’s where they get him involved. Love has already shot enough, but playing him down low to become more of a traditional power forward more often than not could cause some serious matchup problems for opponents. While Love can stroke the long ball, his offensive skill set is gifted much further beyond shooting.

Right now, the Cavaliers just need to find what works and stick with it. A new coach and all those new players will cause some testing early on to see exactly the best schemes to run. Even though the Cavs are considered to be a title contender just based off of the names on their roster, there is still a lot of experimenting to be done.

For the Cavs, they need to not worry about expectations right now. With LeBron’s return, everyone’s expecting a championship right away. James said himself this would be a challenge, and even that this team isn’t ready to compete for a title yet. With every loss comes judgement, yet the team shouldn’t be playing at their peak quite yet no matter who is on the floor.

The player Love is, he will find a way to fit in eventually. When that day comes, the Cavaliers get that much closer to title contention.

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