Sports talk and debate can be fun, but it must be kept in proper perspective. You can talk about who you would rather start a team with today between LeBron James, Steph Curry, or anyone else in the league like Anthony Davis. Those kinds of hypothetical conversations are a trip. They help pass the time until real actual things happen on fields and courts in the pro sports world. At some points though, the hypotheticals get really close to the real world and end up sounding so ridiculous that they must be called out. Kevin Love and whether or not the Cleveland Cavaliers are better off without him are one of those hypotheticals.
I understand why Kevin Love is a topic of conversation. I understand, especially after the Cavaliers finally showed up in Game 3 of the NBA Finals when he was injured with a concussion, why people want to talk about Kevin Love. The one thing that I won't listen to is the idea that the 2016 Cleveland Cavaliers are better off without him.
http://www.scout.com/cleveland-sports/story/1676532-kevin-love-and-the-c... I know the Cavaliers won without him in Game 3. I think Richard Jefferson had a huge impact on that with his energy, intensity and overall demeanor on the court. R.J. played a good game, contributing both offensively and defensively as the Cavaliers came out fast, strong and with a different look. In 33 minutes Jefferson had nine points, eight rebounds and two steals. He helped facilitate and contributed, but this game wasn't really about Richard Jefferson replacing Kevin Love. It was about LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and a team defensive effort. There's no reason to think that Kevin Love wouldn't have helped facilitate a victory in his own way with rebounds and scoring. The Cavaliers seemed charged up as a team and we've seen Kevin Love get charged up with his teammates in these playoffs plenty already. Yes, Love had a miserable Game 2, but so did everyone else.
Is there a version of the universe where the Cavaliers would be better if they traded Kevin Love for a different player this offseason? Of course that's a possibility. That's more like one of those more entertaining hypotheticals though. The fact is that the 2015-16 Cavaliers are in the NBA Finals with Kevin Love and they can't trade him for a different player. Given the alternatives to Kevin Love sitting out, you know, like more minutes for Channing Frye, Timofey Mozgov and even Iman Shumpert, it's very clear to me that the Cavaliers are at their best with a healthy Kevin Love available.
Should Kevin Love go back to his starting slot whenever he's healthy? I don't know exactly, but I also don't think it matters that much. All you have to do is look to the Golden State Warriors for that answer. Andre Iguodala isn't a starter, yet he frequently plays more minutes than either Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes. If Kevin Love starts and it's not working and Richard Jefferson comes in and provides a spark, so be it. If R.J. starts and the Cavaliers bring Love off the bench and he nails a few threes in short order, then he's going to stay in the game plan for the rest of the game. These things are pretty fluid, are they not?
Have the debates if you must. I hope you're enjoying them and having a good time. But please, save the part where you try and convince me that the Cavaliers are somehow better off with a player like Kevin Love unavailable to them for any reason. It's absolutely not true and the team will be fortunate if Kevin Love passes the concussion protocol and is capable of contributing in Game 4.
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