“Really Hard Adjustment”: Former Teammate Opens Up on Playing Alongside LeBron James and Kyrie Irving

By 3 months ago

The Cleveland Cavaliers pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in recent NBA history. The 2016 Finals was a miraculous one. In a team that already had LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, how hard was it for Kevin Love to suit in as the third-best player on the roster? 

Kevin Love began his NBA career by playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2008. After six long years of being denied a postseason experience, Love made the move to Cleveland, where he got what he wanted. 

LeBron’s homecoming to Cleveland was a celebration. Kevin Love also joined the team in the same year, but he knew what to expect. He was aware that he had to make some changes to his game for a team that already had LeBron and Kyrie.

“I felt I did have to sacrifice the most. So I call it adjustment period or learning curve was likely a lot steeper than most or all on the team,” said Love, on the ‘OM3 Pod w/ JJ Redick & Tommy Alter.’

 

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How did Kevin Love adjust himself to fit in with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving?

Kevin Love is a brilliant player himself. He’s got a good range, he’s got the height, and his defensive qualities are right up there to the standard. However, Love had to tweak his game when he arrived at Cleveland. The reason was obvious. 

“You had two ball-dominant guys,” Love said. “Kyrie’s a magician with the ball. We’ve all seen that before. But Bron is just a once in a generation talent, arguably the greatest player ever. Playing downhill, he’s a freight train.”

The 31-year-old then explained how the Cavs spaced out everyone to give maximum ball possession to LBJ and Kyrie. This was different from what Love was doing in Minnesota. His approach to the game was changed in Cleveland. 

“I really had to transition my body into being a little bit lighter. Maybe not as light as when I came in. But also I was like, ‘Okay I’m gonna have to shoot a lot of threes. I might have to completely change my game. That was a really really hard adjustment,” Love revealed. 

Kevin Love was an instrumental piece of Cleveland’s success in 2016. He still plays for the Cavs and is averaged 17.6 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 3.2 APG in the 2019/20 regular season. Moreover, Love took more 3-pt attempts (7.0) per game this year, than any other season in his career. 

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