The Cleveland Cavaliers are dominating the Eastern Conference this NBA season. With the team's Big Three back in action, the Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors and Atlanta Hawks are having a challenging time catching up. However, the combined efforts of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are reportedly more than enough for the NBA championship runner-ups to excel. How will this affect Kevin Love, the third member of the Big Three?
The emergence of the small ball play courtesy of the Golden State Warriors has become a challenge for the NBA teams this season. With most of the basketball squads used to handle bigs in the hardwood court, the entry of medium-sized players like Stephen Curry poses an unprecedented hurdle. Moreover, the NBA Finals MVP brings with him a support system in the form of Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andrew Bogut and Harrison Barnes.
This kind of lineup prompted sports analysts to reexamine the other NBA teams. As the strongest contenders in the Eastern Conference, the Iman Shumpert squad is expected to face off against the former champs - that is, if the San Antonio Spurs do not snag the Western Conference crown.
"When the Warriors go to their Line-up of Death, Cleveland's best possible counter would be LeBron - Shumpert - Smith - Dellavedova - Kyrie," noted Jonathan Tjarks of the Real GM. The sports analyst added, "There's just not a lot of room for what Love brings to the table when the Cavs are playing the best teams in the league and what they could really use is another 6'7+ wing defender who could slide between the 3 and 4 positions and push LeBron down to the 4 and the 5 more often."
With these in mind, Tjarks suggested that the Cleveland Cavaliers should try to get back Andrew Wiggins. While such a deal might take a lot of negotiations actually to come to fruition, the sports analyst pointed out that Love fails to provide any vital contribution to the NBA team. He also noted that the former Minnesota Timberwolves star will be no match to likes of Kawhi Leonard and Barnes.
Tjarks shared, "In other words, what the Cavs really need to do is roll back the Love for Andrew Wiggins trade. That's not going to happen but they need more wing players if they are going to play small more often, and that's the way the league is trending. They shouldn't make a trade before seeing what Love can do with a full playoff run, but if they come up short in the NBA Finals again, he's the obvious candidate to get moved."
Meanwhile, the Cleveland Cavaliers appear to be content with Love's contribution to the team. David Blatt noted that the power forward is starting to show signs of his former All-Star form. Fans could painfully recall that the last NBA season went to waste for Love as he battled his injuries. His absence, later on, paved the way for Tristan Thompson to wow the crowd and even King James himself.
"I just think he's played All-Star basketball since the beginning of the year," said Blatt of Love, according to Cleveland.com. The Cleveland Cavaliers head coach added, "He's averaging a double-double, he's been on point since Day One, and he's played both ends of the court for us. He's played high-level basketball. As I see it, there's not even a second thought as to why he's an All-Star up to this point."