This past season, Kevin Love had a fantastic season, as he improved his 3-point shooting and helped the Cleveland Cavaliers reach the play-in tournament.
It came on the heels of multiple disappointing injury-riddled and disappointing seasons during which he was often the subject of trade rumors.
Unless something unexpected happens, Love will be on the Cavs’ roster for the 2022-23 campaign, and he will be a key member of a squad that will have a great chance of making the playoffs.
Given his struggles in recent seasons, some Cleveland fans may be a bit sheepish when it comes to their expectations for him.
But there are three things that should be expected from Love this coming season.
Love Will Get Injured
During the 2021-22 season, Love played in 74 games, the most he had appeared in since the Cavaliers’ 2016 championship season.
Prior to 2022, he had played in just 25 games in 2021 and 22 contests in 2019.
Overall, Love has managed to appear in at least 70 games in only six of his 14 NBA seasons, so it’s fair to say that getting injured at some point this coming season is a reasonable expectation.
It could be a major injury that knocks him out for several weeks or even months, or it could be a minor tweak that only keeps him out for a few games.
If Love misses extended time, the Cavs could be hard-pressed to replace what he brings them, as they don’t have a very reliable option at backup power forward other than him.
The best option there may be Dean Wade, who hasn’t been too productive in his three seasons with the team, especially in terms of rebounding, or Lamar Stevens, who is a poor outside shooter.
Love Will Shoot At Least 36 Percent From Downtown
Although his 3-point shooting accuracy has been a bit up-and-down over the years, Love has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is, at worst, a slightly above-average 3-point shooter.
This past season, he shot 39.2 percent from beyond the arc, compared to 36.5 percent the year prior.
Love has failed to reach the 36 percent mark in that category in only three of his pro seasons, and two of them came at the very beginning of his career.
With Darius Garland developing into a sensational passer and Evan Mobley showing potential as a legitimate scorer in the paint, Love may enjoy even more good looks from downtown this coming season.
Darius Garland/Kevin Love run the2-man flare (when i get doubled, you shoot) pic.twitter.com/ybEHWj1NjK
— Big Picture Kinda Guy (@highmusings718) January 25, 2022
Love Will Help The Cavs On The Boards
Although the Oregon native is now coming off the bench, he has managed to maintain his production on the boards.
In the 2021-22 season, he averaged 11.6 rebounds per 36 minutes, which is close to his career average of 12.4 in that category.
Kevin Love connects with Darius Garland on the full-court pass 🎯 pic.twitter.com/8IrtF2FfmO
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) November 25, 2021
The Cavs ranked just 18th in defensive rebound percentage that year, and it’s a category in which Love excels.
If they’re to make the playoffs for the first time in the post-LeBron James era, it would help if Love picked up his production in that category a bit.