How the Cavaliers botched the Kevin Love trade
LeBron James’s return to the Cavaliers last season is one of the most exciting moments in Cleveland sports history. To help James and company compete immediately, Cleveland agreed to a trade with Minnesota for all-star forward Kevin Love. The Cavs’ offer was built around the number one overall selection in last year’s draft, Andrew Wiggins. After having a full season and change to evaluate both players and how they fit on their current teams, it is safe to say Cleveland lost that trade badly.
Kevin Love is a very good basketball player. He has been selected to three all-star teams and is just beginning to enter the prime of his career. Love is an excellent shooter and rebounder. He has the ability to hurt opposing defenses both inside and outside the paint. He is a below average defender, but Cleveland knew that before they traded for him. Love will continue to be good, but he will never be great. He will consistently produce 20 points and 10 rebounds a game, but he will never by the kind of player who can dominate a game on both ends of the floor or carry a team in a playoff series. Wiggins is turning into that kind of player.
Wiggins entered the NBA with as much, if not more, hype than any player since James himself in 2003. In college, Wiggins used his size and explosive athleticism to dominate the opposition. The 6’8” shooting guard proved he can shoot, attack the basket, and has the physical tools necessary to become a lockdown NBA defender. Despite his incredible potential, Wiggins was traded before ever setting foot on an NBA court.
As a rookie in Minnesota, Wiggins averaged 16.9 points per game and took home rookie of the year honors. So far this season, he is averaging 21.9 points per game. He is slowly but surely turning his flashes of potential into full games in which he looks dominant. Wiggins must improve his outside shooting to make the leap from good to great, but at only 20 years old, he has plenty of time. Wiggins will be an all-star this season, and at the rate he is improving, he could be competing for MVP awards in two or three years.
Wiggins would have been the ultimate running mate for James. No team in the NBA has the personal to contain two 6’8” super athletes on the perimeter. Wiggins can guard the opposition’s best player every night, which would leave James free to play help defense and harass passing lanes. Wiggins’ skill set and the amount of attention he draws from opposing teams would have taken pressure off James and made the game easier for him as he ages. The Love for Wiggins trade was beneficial for Cleveland in the 2014-2015 season, but every game that goes by, it looks like a worse and worse deal for the Cavs.
Will Andrew Wiggins fully realize his potential and become one of the NBA’s best players? Does Cleveland have enough firepower to win an NBA championship? Feel free to leave a comment or find me on Twitter @Andrew_Morse4