The Cleveland Cavaliers have been one of the most pleasant surprises of the 2021-22 NBA season so far. They find themselves in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race as the All-Star break comes to an end.
The Cavs have been led all season by a group of talented youngsters who all have taken leaps in their respective careers. However, one veteran player who has played a key role in the team’s success is Kevin Love.
At certain points in recent years, it appeared as though Love’s time in Cleveland was coming to an end. At other times, it looked like Love’s entire NBA career was winding down due to injuries and shaky production.
Now, he’s playing with new life, and some of his former Cavs teammates recently expressed happiness and excitement over that fact.
"This Kevin is a new Kevin."
— Bally Sports Cleveland (@BallySportsCLE) February 24, 2022
“This Kevin is a new Kevin that I don’t think existed before this year,” Channing Frye said. “He’s more important to the team off the court than on the court because he’s teaching them how to do the chemistry things.”
Richard Jefferson also chimed in.
“For Kevin to embrace the role that he’s in, that is next level,” he said. “If Kevin was disruptive or was not doing this or was toxic in the locker room, this team would not be as great as they are.”
Love’s value to the Cavs will likely only grow as the playoffs near. Of course, Love has championship pedigree thanks to his crucial role in the Cavs’ 2016 championship run.
On top of that, he has more playoff experience than the majority of NBA players thanks to the number of deep playoff runs the Cavs made during LeBron James’ second stint with the team. Love will certainly be a valuable voice for the 2021-22 Cavs when the pressure starts to build leading up to the postseason.
So far this season, Love is averaging 14.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. He’s proving that he’s got a lot left in the tank. He’s arguably the perfect veteran to help lead the Cavs out of their rebuild.