Links to the Present: He’s Here! — Updated with Z’s Comeback Attempt

August 25th, 2014 by David Wood

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Kevin Love is officially a Cavalier, and the Cavaliers officially have a big three.  The news is old, as Kevin Love to the Cavs has seemed liked a done deal for a while.  The internet has pretty much examined what the team will look like now, but there are still some new articles trickling out.

First off, for anyone wondering how Kevin Love became a Cav, Brian Windhorst examined the entire process of acquiring Love for ESPN.  It was luck, the Heat imploding, and some crafty roster moves that kept the cap clear enough to have the space for LeBron James to return.  Basically, each thing that fell into place is something that goes against the bad history associated with Cleveland sports.  The Cavs have used up all the collective Cleveland luck:  sorry Indians,  sorry Browns.

I care how Love ended up on the Cavs, but I actually care more about what the team may look like on the court with him.  David Thorpe, also writing for ESPN, believes that Cavs should earn the moniker the “7-Seconds-Or-Less” Cavs.

The Cavs could start a group with three great passers (at a minimum), four great shooters and at least three great scorers (Irving, Love, James), all with the best playmaker in the game to create shots when needed. The only way to slow them down is if they choose to do that on their own.

If they choose not to slow themselves down, here’s what could happen.

Instead, a splendid blend of some kind of initial action (i.e., pinch-post handoff, ball-screen action, pin down, etc.) will lead to ball movement until there is a big crease to attack via dribble or pass. This will constantly have a defense on its heels — especially if the shooters take open 3s every chance they get, forcing opponents to extend their defense out, thereby leaving openings closer to the basket.

Passing up open shots (when the man with the ball is a good-to-great shooter) slows the offense down and gives Memphis Grizzlies v Phoenix Sunsthe defense chances to recover. The Cavaliers can have the league’s best offense if they give everyone the green light (minus Varejao) to take open shots from behind the line.

Love is going to enable the hammer to be thrown down quite often in transition with his elite passing and rebounding skills.

It’s the full-court game where Love can have the most impact. His outlet passes are legendary, and deservedly so. Corey Brewer is every bit as fast as James, and he led the league in transition points last season, mostly thanks to those passes from Love. James, though, is a better finisher at the rim than Brewer, and better at drawing fouls.

Love’s incredible rebounding talent also suggests that Varejao, along with James, can often release early and race down the court.

“Will Austin Carr have a heart attack from the excitement of this Cavs season” is a serious question.

If looking just at the Cavs win-loss record this season, you may be reminded of the jump the Celtics took when they acquired Kevin Garnett.  Jason Lloyd raised this point right before the weekend started.

The Cavs will have the Minnesota Timberwolves to thank, just as the Boston Celtics did before them. The Celtics, not the 2010 Miami Heat, were the last team to reshape their roster this dramatically in one summer. The Heat were a playoff team the year before LeBron James and Chris Bosh arrived. The Celtics transformed overnight from a 24-win team into NBA champions.

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Eleven months after the Celtics plucked another Kevin (Garnett) from the Timberwolves, they were celebrating a championship at Copley Square. Whether this Cavs season ends with a parade on Public Square remains to be seen, but the similarities between that Celtics team and the Cavs today are striking, beginning with their mutual trade partner.

The Cavs will now need to beat down some young barely proven upstart in the East to officially act as the slightly wiser just put together team.  That would solidify the rebuild.   The Wizards should watch out.

If you have been living under a rock the past month because you were afraid to get too excited about the chances of obtaining Kevin Love, I understand.  Good stuff doesn’t happen for the Cavs too often, but you don’t have to be too behind if you know nothing about Love’s game.  Cleveland.com broke down his game in a simple piece;  you’ll sound like a seasoned Love fan in under ten minutes.

– Update

Lost in the shuffle was the crazy, almost unbelievable story that broke on The Really Big Show, this morning: Zydrunas Ilgauskus plans to attempt a comeback for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, in an attempt to win a ring with LeBron James.

Here’s Brian Windhorst and Tony Rizzo discussing Z and other Cavs news on The Really Big Show this morning.

Additionally, this went up in downtown Cleveland. OK, this thing is starting to get fun.