Louisville, KY May 21, 2015 (Analyzed Sports) By: Charron Elliott
Did The Cavs Make The Right Decision?
In the 2014 NBA Draft the Cleveland Cavaliers selected Andrew Wiggins as the first overall pick back in June. A lot of basketball analysts assumed that Wiggins, along with All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, would be the duo to get the Cavs eventually back to the Playoffs. Then Shortly after that former Miami Heat player and four-time MVP, LeBron James, revealed that he would be coming back to Cleveland. The homecoming of James made things even better for the Cavs and looked like a promising “Big Three” for years to come, but the Cavs would trade Wiggins to the Minnesota Timberwolves for three-time All-Star power forward, Kevin Love. This trade at the time looked like a “Blockbuster” deal for the Cavs, but did they make the right decision?
First off let’s look at what Kevin Love did prior to this season while playing for the Timberwolves. Love averaged nearly 26 points and 12 rebounds per game in the 2013-2014 NBA season for Minnesota. This season Love’s stats took a drop as he averaged just around 16 points and nine rebounds per game for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now those stats can be deceiving especially considering the fact that Love is in an offense that revolves around LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Love found himself in an offense that revolved around him being on the perimeter and as a result he went from averaging nearly eight free throw attempts per game to just four. Also unfortunately for Love and the Cavs his post season was cut short, as he sustained a dislocated left shoulder injury in Game Four of the 2nd round of the NBA Playoffs. Love will have to undergo surgery and is expected to miss four to six months.
On the flip side for rookie small forward Andrew Wiggins, he has definitely made a name for himself in the NBA this season. Although the Minnesota Timberwolves finished the NBA regular season winning just 16 games, Wiggins has been the one bright spot and healthiest starter. Andrew Wiggins played all 82 games for Minnesota averaging nearly 17 points, four rebounds, and two assists per game. Wiggins also shot a respectable 43% from the field and averaged one steal per game. More importantly Wiggins was the 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year and was listed on the All-Rookie 1st Team. Lastly Wiggins just turned 20 years old this February so he will continue to get better and he has proven that he can create his own offense consistently.
Now the Question still remains did Cleveland make the right decision? Well if you we’re looking at just per statistics it would imply that they did, but any basketball analyst would tell you the game is more than just numbers. First Let’s consider age, Love will be 27 in September and he still has a few more prime years left in his NBA career. Andrew Wiggins is only 20 years old and has at least 10 years of basketball in him, that is assuming he doesn’t sustained any serious injuries during his career. Speaking of injuries, as I stated before Love will be out 4-6 months after having surgery on his dislocated left shoulder. Also Love has been banged up before in his NBA career missing 64 games after having surgery with a broken right hand in the 2012-2013 NBA season. Another thing to mention is the fact that Love has battled back spasms all this season before suffering the shoulder injury in Boston.
Lastly another question that remains is if Kevin Love wants to even be a Cavalier next season. We all know that winning cures a lot of problems, but what happens if the Cavs don’t win a championship this season? Love sacrificed a lot out of his game this season so that LeBron and Kyrie could operate the offense, and you have to wonder if that is something he wants to continue doing. On the contrary if the Cavs would have kept Wiggins they would have him locked up in a rookie contract for at least three years, but Love could walk away from the team this off-season if he isn’t happy with the Cavs. Also with Kyrie Irving battling a left-knee injury, Cleveland could definitely use a healthy Wiggins alongside LeBron to help create offense.
With all of this being said the Cleveland Cavaliers are up 1-0 in their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Atlanta Hawks. So Cleveland has been able to do just fine without the services of Kevin Love or Andrew Wiggins. However it will be very interesting to see what happens between Love and the Cavs this off-season. On the contrary, I am sure Cleveland fans have had enough off-season drama these past few years and definitely don’t won’t to look that far ahead.