Sure, he was supposed to sacrifice like everyone else. That’s expected when you build a super team like this because there is only one basketball to go around. Just ask Chris Bosh, who went from averaging 24 points in Toronto to never sniffing 20 points again (regularly in the 18-point range) when he teamed up with James. Perhaps that’s why he saw this coming for Love before the season even began.
By this, I mean Love’s lack of involvement on the offensive end.
Like Bosh, Love has seen a precipitous drop in his points, going from 26.1 points last year to 16.7 points this year. Part of it is his fault – the power forward is shooting a dreadful 38.9 percent from the field through the first 10 games of the season. He’s getting 13.1 shots per game, which is about five less than what he’s accustomed to. So what’s the problem and what exactly needs to be done to correct this particular problem? Love provided his take on the matter, from Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
“It’s come to a point where I’m just trying to find myself in this offense,” Love said after scoring a season-low 10 points against the Spurs and attempting just one shot in the fourth quarter. “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.”
Ironically, the shots that he has been taking are precisely the shots he said the team needs:
Love has shot 33 of his 131 field goal attempts this season from 0-5 feet from the rim and has launched 62 of his attempts from 20-29 feet away, according to NBA.com. In other words, the vast majority of Love’s looks on offense are coming from the two areas on the court that he said the team would need.
So what we have here is a player who is struggling offensively and generally unhappy with his new role – get the ball a whole lot less than James and Irving. He should feel much better about himself when he starts making more shots. Maybe then, he’ll get a few more touches, too. Like he said, though, they’re only 10 games in. The team still has a long way to go and to be quite frank, Love’s touches on offense is and should be the least of anyone’s worries on the Cavaliers right now because their problems are largely on the other side of the floor.
Cleveland is currently the 24th best defensive team in the league and looks even worse than that on most nights with their inability to stop anyone in the paint area. Needless to say, this brand new team has a lot of work to do, and the last thing they need is unnecessary distraction about who’s getting what kind of shot.
At least for the time being, anyway.
OTHER NEWS AND ITEMS FROM AROUND THE LEAGUE:
- Marc Stein of ESPN reported early on Thursday that the Rockets and Cavaliers would try to go after Corey Brewer: “Things are fluid, as always in trade talks, but latest word is Houston more likely than Cleveland as landing spot via trade for Corey Brewer. Rockets have made it clear they’re ready to move NOW. Cavs said to be weighing whether to prioritize pursuing rim protector or wing depth. Tricky one for CLE since Corey Brewer is available now AND rim protectors are harder to get. As Cavs have found in months of chasing Mozgov.”
- Unfortunately, Flip Saunders appears to have changed his mind about trading the swingman, from Jon Krawczynski of The AP: “Flip on Brewer: he’s just too valuable to us to move. Says he understands why teams with championship hopes want him
- J.R. Smith is very concerned about his team’s approach on the defensive end after getting demolished by the Minnesota Timberwolves, from Marc Berman of NY Post: “We have to hang our hat on it if we’re going to be successful,’’ Smith said. “I think the only learning process we have is on the offensive end. It has nothing to do with playing defense. Once we get that clear, we’ll be a better team. We can’t worry about our offense when we’re playing defense. If that’s the case, we’re headed in the wrong direction.’’
- Kobe Bryant explained why he didn’t mean the things he said about Dwight Howard, from Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report: “Heat of the moment. You guys have all been in arguments. You guys who are married, you guys know how that goes. You argue; sometimes you say things that you want to take back, that you don’t really mean. But it’s in the heat of confrontation, and sometimes things come out.”… Bryant also did not pile on after Kevin Durant told Howard repeatedly,”You’re a p—-y,” in their on-court argument Sunday night. “No, I don’t feel that way. And I don’t think Kevin does either,” Bryant said. “In moments of confrontation during a game, you’ll say things. “I know Dwight. I’m sure Kevin does. We don’t really feel that way about him. It’s like when you get in an argument with somebody, you’ll say things out of frustration and out of anger that you don’t really mean.”
- Tony Wroten reacted to the notion that his 76ers would lose to a college team, which is what Eric Bledsoe stated earlier this week. John Gonzalez of CSNPhilly has the story: “Nah, they can’t beat us,” Wroten replied. “He’s crazy.” So you obviously heard what he said. Was it insulting? “Yeah, it’s insulting,” Wroten said. “He might be serious, but I know Bledsoe. I’m not going to take it personally.” The Sixers have a minus-16.9 point differential. That’s last in the league. The Minnesota Timberwolves have the second-worst point differential at minus-9.4. Even so, they’re an NBA team. The idea of a college team beating a professional franchise is a little hyperbolic, isn’t it? “Actually,” one longtime NBA executive told CSNPhilly.com, “I think Kentucky would give them a game.”
- Check out this hilarious little trick Kobe Bryant pulled off against James Harden and Francisco Garcia, who didn’t know what hit them and started boxing each other out while trying to grab the rebound on a free throw (via CJ Fogler).
- Here’s another clip in the form of vine from Fogler, where Anderson Varejao’s defense against Kawhi Leonard on an inbounds pass is just ridiculous.
- Nick Young? He is all about the swag. Check out this great post game interview and the interaction between Young and Jordan Hill. Bryant also commented on Young’s performance and what he hopes the backup shooting guard will accomplish this season, from Ding: “We worked on that stuff a lot last year, worked on it a lot over the summer,” Bryant said. “It has been a big change in his game. In the past, he used handle the ball a lot, dribbling five or six times. Now you see him catching, one dribble, pull-up shot. Two dribbles, pull-up shot.” Bryant was clear about his goal for Young and his streamlined game this season… “Have him be Sixth Man of the Year,” Bryant said.” On a more sour note, Young received a flop warning from the NBA for this play.
- Remember Darren Erman, the assistant who was dismissed by the Warriors for allegedly recording conversations within the organization? Rajon Rondo loves him, according to Jay King of Masslive: “He’s the best guy in the league to me as far as scouting reports,” Rondo said. “I call him Baby Thibodeau. Thibs is the best at it, to me, defensively. He’s the best defensive coach I’ve ever played for. (Erman is) pretty much a miniature Thibodeau.”…“(Erman) does the same thing, he works just as hard,” Rondo said. “You can’t really beat him to the gym. When Thibs was here, you couldn’t. I’d try to get to the gym at 7 in the morning, the only guy there was Thibs in his office. And (Erman is) pretty much the same way. It’s paid off for Thibs and it’s only a matter of time before (Erman) becomes a head coach.”
- Here’s some relatively-irrelevant back and forth between Markieff Morris and Stan Van Gundy, from Keith Langlois of NBA.com: “But Morris – entangled in a confrontation with Caldwell-Pope midway through the second quarter that saw both get technical fouls – felt compelled after the game to question Caldwell-Pope’s fortitude. “You know he doesn’t have any heart,” Morris was quoted as saying, “so we knew he was going to miss.”… “I’m not quite sure – maybe he knows – but I’m not quite sure what Markieff Morris has accomplished in the league that gets him to the point of mouthing off. I don’t like the mouthing off, anyway. It seems to me you should at least participate in a playoff game before you do. But maybe not. Maybe that’s not the standard any more.”
- Kevin Durant continues to get rich through endorsements, from Darren Rovell of ESPN: “Everything that Kevin pitches comes from an authentic point of view,” said Michael Yormark, president and chief of branding and strategy for Roc Nation, Jay Z’s agency that represents Durant. “When it comes to grab-and-go food, KD’s a Sonic guy.”… “We feel really good about this partnership because Kevin is uniquely aligned with what we do and who we are as a brand,” said Todd Smith, Sonic’s chief marketing officer.”
- Derrick Rose’s absence will extend into next week, according to K.C. Johnson of Chicago Tribune: “To do so this season, they will have to beat the Kings without Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol. Speaking before Thursday morning’s shootaround at Sleep Train Arena, coach Tom Thibodeau ruled both players out… Rose will miss his third straight game with a strained left hamstring. Gasol is out for a second consecutive time with a strained left calf. Neither player has suffered a setback. The Bulls are being conservative with injuries this season, and Rose’s absence likely will extend to next week.”
- Jeff Taylor has been suspended for 24 games by Adam Silver, and the NBPA is going to give the Commissioner a fight for the sentence: “The 24-game suspension imposed by Commissioner Silver against Jeff Taylor is excessive, without precedent and a violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (“CBA”). The CBA contemplates a minimum 10 game suspension in any case involving a conviction for a violent felony, including domestic violence. In contrast, Jeff Taylor was charged with a misdemeanor that is likely to be dismissed at the end of a probationary period. The 24-game suspension is one of the longest in the history of the league. We have a scheme of discipline that was the result of collective bargaining between the parties that has been applied consistently over the years. While we appreciate the sensitivity of this societal issue, the Commissioner is not entitled to rewrite the rules or otherwise ignore precedent in disciplinary matters.”
- Andrew Bogut writes for a site called sportal.com.au biweekly, and it’s really great to read his perspective on what’s going on with the Warriors. Here are his thoughts on the play of Stephen Curry: “There’ll be games where Steph won’t score as much and then he’ll have 10-15 assists. The last 3-4 games he’s really controlled the tempo of the game, scoring when we need him to and passing when we need him to do that also. We’re so dangerous when he’s passing because we have Klay, myself, Harrison Barnes, Draymond and Andre Iguodala who are all capable of getting involved when we share the ball. Right now, I think Steph would be right up there with MVP voting.”
- Speaking of Bogut, check out what he said about Mark Jackson. Michael Lee of Washington Post has details: “Coach Jackson was more with the motivational stuff,” Bogut said. “Coach Kerr is more straight to the point – ‘This is what we have to do to win and let’s go do it.’ There’s no, ‘Rah, rah,’ to get motivated, or quotes or stuff like that.”
- With the game on the line in a double-overtime situation, Jason Kidd knew exactly who the Brooklyn Nets were going to on the final possession. In fact, he looked at Joe Johnson and said it right to him and basically everyone else on the Nets bench. Lionel Hollins did the most predictable thing ever anyway and ultimately lost the game.”
James Park is a blogger and editor of Sheridan Hoops. Follow him on twitter @SheridanBlog.