Thursday, September 18, 2014

Kevin Love brings his special talent to the Cleveland Cavaliers basketball team following last month's trade from the Minnesota Timberwolves, Love joins LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Anderson Varejao, others for a possible 2015 NBA title, Cavaliers General Manger Kevin Griffin says that Love is another asset to the team: By Cleveland Urban News.Com Sportswriter Karl Kimbrough

Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player Kevin Love

By Karl Kimbrough, Cleveland Urban News.Com Sportswriter ( Cleveland Urban News. Com and The Cleveland Urban News.Com Blog, Ohio's Leaders In Black Digital News . Tel: 216-659-0473 

Cleveland Urban News.Com
Sportswriter Karl Kimbrough
Cleveland Cavaliers ballplayers Kyrie Irving (left) and Anderson Varejao
CLEVELAND, Ohio-Former Minnesota Timberwolves ballplayer Kevin Love is now a Cleveland Cavalier, effective August 23, 2014, and Andrew Wiggins, a first round Cavaliers 2014 draft pick, has been simultaneously traded to the Timberwolves in what many are calling the NBA's most anticipated trade of the year. 

Now that Love has joined LeBron James, who returned this year to the Cavaliers as a free agent after four years and two national championship titles with the Miami Heat, , and given other team talent like Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao, Cavaliers fans are hoping for a 2015 NBA title.

Simply put, the three-team trade, which also involved the Philadelphia 76ers, brought Love to Cleveland and saw the Timberwolves get Wiggins, 2013 Cleveland draft pick Anthony Bennett, and Thaddeus Young from Philadelphia, a $6.3 million trade exception. The 76ers got Minnesota's Alex Shved, a guard, and forward Luc Mbah, also from Minnesota, as well as an upcoming 2015 first-round draft pick of choice.

Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player LeBron James,
also known as "King James," and one of
the world's most talent athletes'

This then-potential and now realized mega- trade was the main subject of conversation this year on Cleveland area sports talk radio shows throughout July and during much of the month of August leading up to the blockbuster scenario. Most Cleveland fans were either upset that the Cavaliers would include a young talent like Wiggins in the trade, or they were all for it happening. Some see the youthful and inexperienced Wiggins as an all around talent that potentially could develop into a great two way, [offense and defensive] player. Their main point of argument was that trading Wiggins, who's athleticism has been compared to that of LeBron James, would be trading your future. But for the Cavaliers and James the future is now.

In this microwave society, if Wiggins can not produce instantly then he would not be embraced by the Cavaliers' fan base, nor would he be a suitor for LeBron in the King's championship quest. In contrast, Love is currently in the prime of his career and has already proven to be a special talent. After announcing the trade, Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin said that securing Kevin Love was in the team's best interest.

Cavaliers General Manger David Griffin
“Kevin joining the Cavaliers represents a very special and unique opportunity for our team," said Griffin. “At 25 Kevin has already firmly established himself as one of the NBA's elite players and his talent, versatility and fit are major parts of our team's vision for success.”

The special and unique opportunity that Griffin spoke of is in direct relation to Love's special skills. Listening to several Cavaliers' fans describe Love, it is clear that a lot of them only see him as a rebounding, three point shooting, and a stretch four or power forward. But what the Cavaliers have acquired in Love is truly much more.

When James was asked about Loves' abilities he pointed out that Love's basketball IQ is what impressed him the most, not his 26 points and 12.5 rebounds per game. LeBron's perspectives of Love's abilities may be surprising, yet they are revealing as well, especially when you consider that Love's 2014 stat line of 26 points 12.5 rebounds and over four assists per game had not been accomplished since the NBA/ABA merger back in 1976. The last two players to do it were Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Bob McAdoo, who are both in the Basketball Hall of Fame.

James' assessment though reveals how important and unusual it is for a player to have the intelligence and wisdom to use his skill set to dominate his opponent both physically and mentally. To James what is more important, he contends, is how Love scores, rebounds and assists, instead of what his stats are. Why? It is not because he will obviously be better on a team with more talent. Rather, it is seemingly because Love's high basketball IQ will allow him to use his teammates to manipulate defenses while making himself and his teammates better. It is also obvious that James sees a lot of his own talents in Love, which proves that you don't have to be a great athlete to be a great basketball player in today's NBA.

The assumption, which many have made, that Love is mainly a three point floor spacer is not true. James will finally have the opportunity to play with someone who he can playoff of, who can create for him and, and who can potentially make him a better basketball player. This is what makes Love special and unique in today's NBA, supporters say.

Love, like LeBron, is a connector. He excels at connecting his teammates to their strength. He will give them a pass where they are most comfortable shooting the ball as his four point four assists per game indicates. His court awareness is very similar to LeBron's. In fact, with James and Love teaming up, Cleveland fans will have an opportunity to see the closes replication of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson on the floor together since the “Dream Team,”. Love can also step inside the three point line and put the ball on the floor like a guard and shoot the mid range shot. He can play with his back to the basket in the low post or turn and face the basket and put his defender in a blender with the array of moves he possesses. Many of the best post defenders in the league have found themselves needing help to guard him in the paint, as he is adept at using his wide body to make left and right handed hooks as well as step back jumpers and drop steps.

The defensive end of the floor is where there are some questions about Love's game. He has not necessarily demonstrated the foot quickness or athleticism to guard his position at a high level. It is well known that good defense is needed to win championships. The Cavaliers are hoping the smell of a championship will get Love hopping a little faster, but they will probably need to add a rim protector to protect Love's weak side. Love does provide great rebounding on defense though. In fact, he finished third in the league in rebounding in 2014.

At only 25 years old Love became the first player in NBA history to garner 2,000 points, 900 rebounds and 100 three pointers in a season. Love also set a Minnesota record with 520 free throws made and attempted with 633, which speaks to his ability to use his body to create contact. The three time All Star and two time all NBA player is a special talent indeed. Hopefully by bringing his special talent to Cleveland, this will be a year to remember for the Cavaliers and their fans.  ( / (