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Talking with Kevin Love about his summer rehab, fit in Cavs offense

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Fear the Sword chats with Cavs power forward Kevin Love..

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Editor's Note: Due to time constraints, part of this interview was conducted over the phone and half was conducted via e-mail. Additionally, Love was made available while promoting Shock Doctor mouth guards.

Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love enters with some questions resolved and some still unanswered. While he signed a five-year deal with the Cavs over the summer, he enters the season coming off shoulder surgery. In this Q & A with Fear the Sword, Love talks his summer rehab, his fit in the Cavs offense and more.

Fear the Sword: You're working with Shock Doctor. Why are mouth guards important for basketball players and especially for youth basketball players?

Kevin Love: There are so many injuries that happen to the face and whether it's youth level, college level or pro level, one-third of basketball injuries are to the neck and the face. I think it's important not just for professionals but the youth and the younger demographic to all wear mouth guards to protect themselves.

FTS: While training and rehabbing over the summer, you spent a lot of time in Utah and at elevation. Is that something you can  continue to do in Cleveland, which obviously is a city that isn't at high altitude? Are there things you can do to mimic that training?

KL: I wish, but [being at high altitude] allowed me to obviously to train harder than I would have if I hadn't gone there throughout the summer. Just trying to find ways to stay in the best shape I possibly can and just working on my flexibility and my range of motion and the strength of my shoulder and just continuing to work on my body as a whole. It's a never ending process and it's a good thing that we have a great training staff in Cleveland to help us stay in shape.

FTS: Defensively, you'll be playing next to a lot of nominal centers - Timofey Mozgov, Sasha Kaun, Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson. Does you defensive assignment and role change when you're playing next to a different guy?

KL: Ya. It definitely changes when you have a guy like Mozgov who is so big and is a shot blocker and takes up so much space as opposed to when I'm playing next to a guy like Andy who is such a team defensively player who is not necessarily going to block three, four or five shots a game. I think your mindset definitely changes but the tactics what we're trying to get done doesn't. We try to have a game plan going in and also know whose behind and someone who has your back.

FTS: As a follow-up the question about who you're playing next to, you guys have a lot of seemingly good bigs - you, Mozgov, Thompson, Varejao, Kaun. Is being that big an advantage in an NBA that emphasizes speed and versatility more than ever?

Love: I think that we have a good group of big guys and you need everything on a team to make it work— a mix of guys who can play inside and complements on the outside with speed and versatility. The NBA game is definitely getting faster but I've always been told that the game is played inside out so you want guys who can bang down low.

FTS: Looking at the Cavs', offense this year, we've heard in training camp that you'll be used more like were during your last year with the Wolves. Does that mean more touches at the elbow and on the block?  And is that exciting for you to get back to having more touches on the floor in those spots?

KL: Right now, it's tough to tell. I'm focused first on getting back on the court, going through 5-on-5, getting contact and working my way back to full strength and then I'll start to worry about the offense and how it'll flow. I'm excited for the season to start.

FTS: From last year into this year, you've mentioned in a few interviews that you're more comfortable this year. Is there anything specific that caused that?

Love: Nothing specific, just the general comfortability of my status with the team being settled after signing my deal in July.

FTS: With LeBron, there's always the thought that he could/should slide down the four spot. That obviously would push you to five spot. A) Could we see the Cavs go this way and play five-out and B) are you comfortable doing that role?

Love: I think we're going to have to get into to the season and see what's working, what's not and go from there. It's too hard to tell right now what will work best with several key players still not playing.

FTS: Lastly - and thanks again for the time - you're heavily involved with the Player's Tribune. Why is working with them better than posting a video or typing out your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter?

Love: Social media is great because you can communicate directly with your fans, but you're limited in what you can put out there and we've seen over time a lot of things athletes post taken out of context. The Players' Tribune allows you to tell stories in a variety of ways the way you want to tell him and about subjects that you're passionate about. It's the best vehicle to again, connect with your fans, but in a more meaningful and thoughtful way.