It can’t sit well with Kevin Love that when he was out for Game 3 with a concussion (that he wanted to play through), the Cleveland Cavaliers busted out for a 30-point whuppin’ of the Golden State Warriors. Of course, there’s no way that his absence was the sole reason for the Cavs’ improved play (for one, they were at home), but in a do-or-die game, you can’t just discard a formula that works to protect egos. Hence, the bad news for Love that came out today:
That would mean that the Cavs are likely sticking with a starting lineup of LeBron James at power forward and Richard Jefferson at small forward, which provides LeBron all the room in the paint he needs without having to concern himself with pesky things like jump shots. With three capable shooters around him in Jefferson, Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith, LeBron is much harder to focus on. Beyond that, he’s actually better equipped at defending Draymond Green than either Love or Channing Frye, and if Draymond and Steph Curry both have off nights, all of a sudden the Warriors are very beatable.
In this scenario, Love would function as Frye did with the previous starting five, coming off the bench to hit threes when he can’t do as much damage on defense. That would likely mean that Frye may not play much at all, considering he’s not much better on D and Timofey Mozgov looks useful again. Either way, if the Cavs have more sustained success with Love in a reduced role, that would have major implications on the construction of this franchise and Love’s potential worth on the trade market.