Kevin Love Says LeBron James Informed Him of Position Change, Not Tyronn LueOctober 11, 2017
Cleveland Cavaliers big man Kevin Love revealed Tuesday that LeBron James informed him that he would be starting at center rather than power forward this season.
Before head coach Tyronn Lue officially announced the change, Love said he had a conversation with LeBron during practice that made him aware the move was on the horizon, according to ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin:
"[A] funny thing happened the third day of practice. I had asked about a certain play on the defensive end and whether it was the different coverages on the 4 or 5 man, and 'Bron kind of stopped me and goes, 'You know you're gonna be starting at the 5, right?'
"So I kind of looked at him and didn't really fully understand that was going to be the case. Not that I would have trained or done anything different. I just would have started wrapping my head around it more. So that's when I kind of knew that was coming into play, and I slowly and surely started to pick it up."
Love is slated to start at center with Jae Crowder at power forward and former starting center Tristan Thompson coming off the bench.
The 29-year-old Love has primarily played power forward during his first three seasons with the Cavs, but he has experience at center dating back to his tenure with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
When Lue first mentioned the possibility of starting Love at center, he discussed spacing as a motivating factor behind the idea, per McMenamin: "Spacing opportunities, spacing the floor. Being able to play through the elbows with multiple guys."
Playing Love at center gives Cleveland a major shooting threat from the 5, as he made 2.4 trifectas per game last season and shot 37.3 percent from long range.
Also, it improves the Cavs' all-around shooting since inserting Crowder in the starting lineup at power forward gives them a player who converted 39.8 percent of his three-point attempts last season.
Love returned to the All-Star Game last season and averaged 19.0 points and 11.1 rebounds per contest from the power forward spot.
Until Isaiah Thomas returns from injury, the Cavs' starting backcourt consists of Dwyane Wade and Derrick Rose.
Both players thrive at getting to the basket but aren't adept at spot-up shooting or lighting it up from beyond the arc.
But with Rose, Wade and James driving the lane and creating shooting opportunities, Love could potentially be in for his most productive season as a Cavalier, due to the number of open looks he figures to receive on the perimeter.