In order to properly proceed, it should be mentioned the following sentences and paragraphs will avoid trade rumors, focusing solely on Love’s upcoming season in Cleveland.
For the majority of last season, Love missed time due to a foot injury. He appeared in only 22 contests, starting in all but one of them. Although the Cavaliers played without their all-star last season, it didn’t matter.
The Cavaliers finished with the league’s second worst record, at 19-63. The only teams equal or worse, the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns, don’t have many potential all-star choices for this season.
Furthermore, as it stands right now, Love is the only Cavalier with a moderate shot to represent the organization at the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in Chicago.
Love’s transition to All-Star in Cleveland
Despite his early struggles as the Cavaliers third option, Love eventually found his role within the organization. In the same lineup as LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, Love served primarily as a three-point shooter.
Before arriving in Cleveland, Love’s last four rebounding seasons with the Minnesota Timberwolves went as follows: 15.2, 13.3, 14.0 and 12.5. Love led the league in rebounds during the 2010-2011 season, with 15.2 per game. As soon as he arrived in Cleveland, his first two seasons failed to generate double digit rebounds per game.
While some statistics declined in Cleveland, his shooting percentage from three-point range increased. Given the style of both James and Irving at the time, Love transitioned to an entirely new role in an entirely different offense. Despite missing Game 3 of the 2016 NBA Finals, Love played an integral role in their first championship.
Love didn’t make the all-star team his first two seasons in Cleveland. Largely overshadowed by James and Irving, Love still maintained an important spot in the franchise’s “Big Three.”
In 2017 and 2018, however, the league acknowledged Love’s increased role in Cleveland. He was twice named to the All-Star team in the Eastern Conference, despite missing a combined 45 games in those two seasons. As his Cavaliers career continues to progress, Love continues to miss even more action.
Right now, Love is fully healthy entering the training camp stage of the offseason.
The case for Love as an All-Star this year
When John Beilein took over as Cleveland’s head coach in May, the organization acknowledged an even larger transition to a three-point oriented offense. Beilein’s teams at the University of Michigan consistently produced deep threats from behind-the-arc. He twice took an underrated squad to the national championship, only to lose both times.
As mentioned before, Love continues to evolve as a power forward with the ability to shoot from three-point range at high volume. During the 2017-2018, Love had a 41.5% from deep. If Beilein’s offense goes as planned, expect Love to match or possibly exceed this percentage from two years ago, his highest average in Cleveland.
This offseason, the Eastern Conference got significantly weaker. After Kawhi Leonard’s permanent excursion to the Los Angeles Clippers, the defending champion Toronto Raptors are no longer a championship threat.
Behind the obvious Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers, there’s no guaranteed All-Star on any other roster in the East. Since the forward position is even weaker, Love has a great shot at the all-star team, pending any health concerns.
Focus for this season
The Cavaliers primary focus this season will be developing Darius Garland and Collin Sexton together as combo guards. This development will alleviate any pressure off Love, as if there actually was any to begin with. Love should have a quietly consistent season, especially from behind-the-arc.
If he can produce similar statistics to 2017-2018, he should have no problem representing the Cavaliers during All-Star Weekend.
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