Fans, along with the media world, went crazy when superstar LeBron James returned to the Cleveland Cavaliers after Miami based its draft implications around James’ wishes, taking Shabazz Napier in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft.
Roughly two months after the draft, another team has found itself in a similar situation. However, this time, James will not leave to pursue another team, but rather he now has the complete package he needs to win a championship with the Cavaliers. The Cavs recently acquired Kevin Love via trade to be the final piece to the championship puzzle in Cleveland.
Love, who has spent the last six years playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves, will finally get the chance to show his much underrated talent on a bigger platform, unlike his tenure in Minnesota. Not to mention, he will ultimately get to pursue his biggest goal and any NBA player’s dream, which is to win a NBA championship with some of the most talented players in the world in LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
The 6-feet, 10-inch, 243 pound power forward could not have come at a better time for the Cavaliers. Although sending their highly touted No. 1 pick, Andrew Wiggins, to Minnesota, the production this team will receive from Love will top the overall production Wiggins could have contributed to the team in his first year. Right now, Wiggins is a rookie who has to adjust to the NBA.
Despite showing off his level of skill, growth and assurance early on through summer league games, he has not played in a regular-season game nor has he gone toe-to-toe with the best players in the world just yet. This is not to say he is not talented or that players who played in the summer league games were not talented.
However, face it: he could and will probably face some growing pains against some of the heavy hitters from the Eastern and Western Conferences. When he does face those challenges to elevate his game to his highest capacity, then the world will see his growth and maturity over the long haul and he should be able to step up to the plate.
On the other hand, Love has done so and has recorded an impressive resume in doing so. Despite showing slow signs of improvement, Minnesota has missed the playoffs for the last six years.
However, this did not stop Love from showcasing his talent, averaging 26 points per game and nearly 13 rebounds last season while showing an uncanny ability to shoot from behind the arc. For his career, he averages nearly 20 points a game and 12 rebounds, numbers that are stellar for his position and hard to come by for most players.
So to put this into perspective, Love adds another dimension to the Cavaliers, a dimension this franchise did not have even when James was there. Love is a force in the paint, an offensive machine and plays defense as well. Not to mention, he is a three-time NBA All-Star, a 2012 NBA All-Star weekend Three Point Champion, All-Rookie Second Team selection and currently on the All-NBA Second Team.
Thus, his production speaks for itself.
With James, Irving at point guard, Love at power forward, solid veteran players in Shawn Marion and Mike Miller, a strong force of youth in Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson and Anderson Varejao, who has grown to become a solid player in the post, the Cavaliers are easily the favorite in the Eastern Conference going into season.
However, do not sleep on the rest of the Eastern Conference. Although Indiana will not be the same without Paul George in the starting lineup, Miami will look to showcase its new look and find its spot in the East while Toronto will continue to be competitive. Derrick Rose is back and better than ever for the Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards have a nice lineup with John Wall, Bradley Beal and Paul Pierce.
But none of these teams have the type of weapons at their disposal like Cleveland does.
All in all, look for Kevin Love to truly impact the Cavaliers in allowing them to be more of a complete team that will ultimately put the franchise in the best position to compete for a NBA championship.