Kevin Love isn’t unconditionally enjoying his move to the center spot.
But he’s not not enjoying it either.
As he told reporters, per Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor, he’s still in the figuring-shit-out stages of the switch:
“It’s been a little bit of a change for me,” Love admitted. “I still find myself spacing a little bit wanting to roll a little bit more and on the defensive end just playing the primary big on their team the whole time on the defensive end. It’s been a little bit different figuring things out on that end, but it comes with the growth I’m talking about. We need to do that and hopefully be a machine when things start clicking.”
Although the Cleveland Cavaliers can still get Kevin Love spot minutes at the power forward position when they run him with Tristan Thompson, his future with them, it seems, lies at the 5. It has to if they’re going to play between two and three shooting liabilities, such as Derrick Rose and Dwyane Wade, at once.
This shouldn’t be much of a problem offensively. Love is used to a vacillating role at this point, and his outside stroke is more of an anomaly at the center slot. He’ll be rolling more, which is an adjustment, but one that should help him get more looks at the rim.
The increased defensive responsibility is the big question. Love will now be the Cavaliers’ primary rim protector for stretches at a time. Warding off drives and point-blank shooters has never been his strong suit, and he’s ill equipped for high pick-and-roll coverage when another big isn’t behind him to calk possible damage.
Still, the Cavaliers’ offense is a fireball when they put Love at the 5. That should hold true even with more jumper-challenged players on the roster. And the Cavaliers didn’t project as a world-beating defensive squad in the first place, so maximizing their offensive ceiling is just about the only play.