Forget about the Cavs struggling to a 5-5 start, if Love isn’t feeling the vibes of a long-term commitment things will never be right for the team many instantly adopted as the league’s most intended.
Following the Cav’s 92-90 Wednesday night loss to San Antonio, already the team’s third at Quicken Loans Arena this season, Love finally felt a need to express his inner-most feelings about his team’s obvious shortcomings. At least some of them.
“I haven’t said much,” Love told reporters after scoring just 10 points and only managing 12 shots against the Spurs. “I’m just trying to be part of this team as best I can.”
But when you’re Kevin Love and you’ve been used in rookie coach David Blatt’s offense as he has over the first handful of games that might be easier said than done.
Love’s scoring average has dropped nearly 10 points per game, from 26.1 to 16.7, between his last season in Minnesota and this one in “The Land.” His field goal attempts per outing have also significantly dipped from 18.5 to 13.1, as has his overall field goal percentage from 45.7 percent to 38.9 percent.
Blatt would have you believe it’s not because of lack of effort on the part of his still developing system.
“We run specific stuff for Kevin and for other guys,” he told ESPN. “You know, earlier in the season when he was scoring the ball better, it was the same offense. So I’m not sure that it’s as much related to that as just the game flow and situational things. But we want to help Kev. He needs to be involved and he needs to involve himself, and it’s our job to help him.”
The harsh reality for Cavs’ fans is after netting at least 16 points in each of the team’s first six games, Love has struggled in scoring 13 or less in three of the last four.
“It’s come to a point where I’m just trying to find myself in this offense,” he said. “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.”
But how much of a learning curve should Love, James, and Irving really expect to get given all the fanfare that chronicled their union? The fact that Love and Irving have yet to so much as play in their first playoff game notwithstanding.
James is already on record in asserting he considers teaching this young and pugnacious Cavs’ team how to win the biggest challenge of his career. And with Love now chirping about lost opportunities and his wasted talents that task doesn’t figure to become any easier.
“I’ll just say we’re 10 games in, we’re looking at different stuff,” he said. “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.”
If it’s any consolation to him, Love should know Blatt thinks his shots will increase and the team’s execution will improve once they get to know one another better.
But when you’re heralded as a dream team and things get off in nightmarish fashion it doesn’t take much for the natives to grow restless.