Kevin Love’s public outburst may just be frustrations with the team’s play but it may hint at a lack of direction by the team and its leadership.
Kevin Love’s now internet-famous outburst on teammate and much-criticized guard Collin Sexton was the talk of the NBA-world Saturday night and Sunday morning. It lead to criticism on Sexton for his playstyle, Love for his outburst and the organization as a whole for its direction. The situation in Cleveland is bad and only getting worse. It’s bad enough the record is terrible, but with rumors of the team being unhappy with head coach John Beilein, one has to ask if there isn’t just cause for Love’s outburst.
The team is clearly struggling with their playstyle. Second-year player Sexton and rookies Darius Garland and Kevin Porter Jr. have gotten a lot of minutes. Porter and Garland have looked inconsistent but have shown flashes of great potential. Fellow rookie Dylan Windler has been out all year and experts wonder if he’ll even return for his first season. Add on the usage of Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic, and you can see that the Cavs will struggle with so many young players getting significant time.
Yet the big complaint is the lack of ball movement, which is completely fair. Garland is leading the team with a paltry 3.2 assists per game, and the team is ranked 27th in points per game and assists per game. When you have offensive talents like Love and former player Jordan Clarkson, that shouldn’t have been the issue. In fact, one could argue that offense was the one thing this team could and should have provided.
Yet the offense is sputtering out. It’s not the system, necessarily, it’s obviously the personnel. Either they don’t grasp the nuances of a the offense yet or they’re simply incapable of doing what needs to be done. The Cavs need a direction because right now it doesn’t have a goal. If the league learned anything it’s that tanking for the sake of tanking doesn’t work. There are no guarantees. You have an All-NBA, double-double machine that you re-signed to a large deal and have elected to not build around him for some reason.
So make a decision. Is this a full tank? With an aging All-Star, and soon-to-be 67-year-old head coach? Sure doesn’t feel like it. So why not make moves. The season might be lost but at least you can make a conscious choice to go in a direction. Trade Love to Orlando or Portland and gut them for whatever you can, or trade Garland or Sexton for an All-Star caliber guard and add some vets in free agency. You have plenty of young talent, now it’s about developing them and providing them viable teamates who can be consistent.
The middling ground is mind-numbing. To quote Gary Bertier from Remember the Titans, “Push ’em, pull ’em, do something!” Maybe the issue is Koby Altman, and if it is, maybe it’s time to move on from him too. All that’s clear is that this team needs work and a lot of it.