It was quite an interesting week for the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs once again dropped all three games this week, but made headlines off the floor. Koby Altman once again surprised us all at the deadline by picking up Andre Drummond for virtually nothing while holding onto Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. The last thirty games of the year could get interesting as the Cavs four best players play center and power forward. Here’s what we learned from another interesting week.
Colin Sexton continues his impressive scoring run.
Sexton continued his run of good play with a solid 29 point and seven assist outing against New York earlier this week. Despite Sunday’s poor showing, Sexton has been averaging 22.4 points with a 56.7 true shooting percentage in the 24 games since the Jordan Clarkson trade.
The second year guard is continuing to make small but meaningful adjustments to his game. Sexton has been making the extra passes more often than before which could have a large impact on his game. We’ll see in the coming weeks how adding Drummond will influence the recent progress he’s shown either positively or negatively.
Andre Drummond brings skills the Cavs desperately need.
Drummond is one of the better traditional centers in the league who should help the Cavs in a variety of ways. The two-time all-star will provide some much needed rim protection to the 29th ranked defense even though Sunday’s defensive performance wasn’t too encouraging. While Thompson is an excellent defender and rebounder, he isn’t a rim protector by any stretch. Drummond will be an upgrade at rim protector as he in the top ten in two-point attempts contested per game with 10.5, deflections per game with 3.7, and blocks per game with 1.7.
Drummond should also help on the offensive end of the floor. He isn’t an elite pick-and-roll finisher, but he is still solid as he averages 0.96 points per roll attempt. Drummond is however one of the best putback finishers in the league as he averages 3.8 putback attempts per game and finishes on 55.2% of them.
We’ll get a better idea of how Drummond fits with this team and more specifically the young guards throughout the remaining 29 games this season. At the very least Drummond should make the Cavs more palatable in these areas.
Kevin Love is having one of his most efficient seasons, and no one cares.
The former five-time all-star is still in Cleveland because there was no market for him at the deadline. This may in part be due to the perception around Love. We often tend to focus on what Love isn’t as opposed to what he is. We all know he isn’t a great defender who can get exposed in the playoffs depending on the matchup. We know that he isn’t a high usage all-star who can take control of an entire offense. Those two factors combined with his age and injury history are usually the first things that get brought up when Love has been mentioned this year. What doesn’t get brought up is the fact that he’s still an incredibly efficient scorer who’s skillset can be plugged into almost any offense.
Love reminded us of how special of a scorer he can be when he’s on his game. He poured in 33 points on 20 shots, 13 boards, and six assists during Monday’s loss to the Knicks. Thirty plus point games have been rare for Love this season as he only has five on the season, but the efficient scoring he showed Monday night is not.
Love is having his most efficient seasons as a pro. Going into Sunday’s game, he’s posted a career high in effective field goal percentage (55.7%) and two-point field goal percentage (53.8%) while boasting a true shooting percentage of 60.2%. Love is one of five players in the league averaging over 17 points and nine rebounds with a true shooting percentage over 60.0%.
His effectiveness can be boiled down to his efficient three-point and midrange shooting this season. Just over half of Love’s shots come from behind the arc where he’s shooting 38.2%. Love has been one of the better spot up shooters as he has a 58.3 effective field goal percentage on those shots which puts him in the 83.7% percentile compared to the rest of the league.
Love has thrived on the midrange shot this season even though that isn’t his go-to. Love has attempted 22.3% of his shots between 10 feet and the three-point line. He is shooting 60.0% on shots from 10 to 16 feet and 50.0% from 16 feet to the three-point line. Those are both career highs from that distance.
While the concerns about his contract, health, age, and defense are valid, I believe contenders under valued the player Love is at the deadline. It’s clear Love isn’t the All-NBA player or all-star he was in the past. However, he is still one of the most efficient scorers in the league in his role.
Stats as of Feb. 3