Lebron James and Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love

Lebron James Has Diminished The Importance Of The Power Forward 

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Over the last couple of years, there has been a mountain of evidence showing how Lebron James is diminishing the importance of the power forward position. In fact, throughout the past seven seasons, teams who obtained the services of Lebron have incorporated an offensive system; that is meant to showcase his ability to pass the ball and get to the basket. As a result, he usually walks the ball up until the three-point line and evaluates how the defenders are positioned. For instance, if a defender is playing off of a three-point shooter, he is supposed to pass the ball to the wide open shooter. On the other hand, if all the defenders are staying close to their man he is expected to evaluate the size of his defender. If the defender is smaller than him, he should post up in the mid to low block and back him down until he can to a spot where he can shoot a jumper. But if his defender is the same size as him he should use his speed and strength to get around him to attack the basket. However, there will be some instances where the defense will collapse on him, and he should pass the ball to the perimeter for the wide open three. However, on occasion, the Cavaliers will break out some different sets within their playbook to prevent from becoming a predictable offense. For example, the team may have LeBron act like he is going to post up at the free throw line and have him pass the ball to a teammate doing a backdoor cut to the basket.

As a result of Lebron needing to use the entire floor to be effective, the power forward is forced to drastically change his skill set and become a spot up shooter. During Kevin Love’s tenure with the Minnesota Timberwolves, he was able to display a diverse offensive attack. For example, Kevin Love would stand around the low post area at the start of a play and then run out to the three-point line where a teammate would pass him the ball for him to shoot it. Another example is when a teammate would bring the ball up the floor until he gets up to the three point line, then passes it to Love in the mid to low post. From there Love would face up and shoot over his defender if he has a smaller defender on him. If he has a bigger and slower defender on him, he will drive to the basket. Kevin Love would also get near the basket as his teammates were going to shoot so that he could get in position to grab the rebound and put the ball back into the basket. These are just a few examples of the versatility that Kevin Love displayed on the offensive end during his time with the Timberwolves.

However, the versatility that he had with the Timberwolves was taken away once he was traded to the Cavaliers. Kevin Love has been mostly a spot-up shooter who doesn’t put the ball on the floor. According to basketball reference, during his three seasons with the Cavaliers, he is taking 43.6 percent of his shots from behind the arc. On the other hand, in 6 seasons with the Timberwolves, he only took 23.6 percent of his shots from behind the arc. The 20 percent increase in three point shot attempts has almost eliminated one of the best aspects of his game which is offensive rebounding. As Love has been averaging 3.3 offensive rebounds per game with the Cavaliers which is 2.4 rebounds less than what he averaged with the Timberwolves. This is because Kevin Love is farther away from the basket when he is shooting the ball as a result of this he does not have enough time to get in position to grab the rebound.

Therefore, it does not matter what power forward (Carmelo or Paul George)  the Cavaliers manage to acquire because Lebron will turn them into a spot-up shooter.

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