Kevin Love’s first season as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers isn’t going too swimmingly. The All-Star entered Friday’s game averaging just 17 points and 10.1 rebounds per outing. He simply hasn’t had the impact that head coach David Blatt and Co. expected heading into the year.
Love’s struggles came to a head on Friday against the Orlando Magic. After struggling to guard anything inside the paint, Cleveland made the decision to bench Love after the team entered the fourth quarter down by two buckets.
Entering that fourth quarter, the Magic were shooting 57 percent from the court and 70 percent from the paint with Love in the game. In the fourth quarter alone, Orlando shot just 35 and 33 percent respectively. And in the end, Cleveland pulled away, outscoring Orlando by 13 with Love on the bench in the final stanza.
Love’s struggles on the defensive side of the ball aren’t new to anyone who was familiar with his game in Minnesota. He surely put up some amazing stats, but it’s important to note that Love did so on a bad team without many other scoring options. He’s simply not a viable NBA defender in the low post.
It remains to be seen if Cleveland will continue to close out games with Love on the bench, but this isn’t a good sign for his long-term future with the team.
Love is a free agent following the season.