David Griffin: Defensive concerns aren’t a product of Kevin Love

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Glen Taylor’s getting all sorts of replies these days. Not long after questioning Kevin Love’s defense, the star power forward’s new general manager, David Griffin, came to his player’s defense.

“I think he’s an elite defensive rebounder,” Griffin told FOX Sports Radio’s Jay Mohr. “I have concerns relative to our ability to protect the rim, and that’s not just a Kevin question. We’re going to need to add that, but I don’t have any concerns about Kevin’s ability to be in the right place at the right time from a team defensive perspective.”

Shortly after trading Love to Cleveland for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a future first-round draft pick, Taylor, the owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves spouted off a missive about the Olympian, essentially questioning his skill level on the defensive end.

“Now I’m not saying that Kevin’s not good, but I think where maybe he got away with some stuff, not playing defense on our team, I’m not sure how that’s going to work in Cleveland,” said Taylor. “So I would guess they’re going to ask him to play more defense.”

Love responded in a radio interview with ESPN’s Mike & Mike in the Morning, recommending that his former boss focus on his newly acquired talent.

“His basketball IQ is fantastic,” said Griffin of Love. “I think he’s been really open about the fact that he’s bringing a focus to that end of the floor that maybe he didn’t do before.”

Per mySynergySports, opponents scored only 0.65 points per isolation possession against Love in 2011-12 and 0.77 last year. On post-ups, 0.69 and 0.72 in those two seasons. Looking to add size in their frontcourt, the Cavs continue to be linked to “rim protecting” centers like Timofey Mozgov and Kosta Koufos.

[Related: All the numbers on new Cleveland star Kevin Love]

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Almost every team needs a rim protector that description is the new stretch four of a couple years ago. Listen Love may not be a lock down defender but he’s certainly no turnstile either. People who have never seen or seen little of Love will be pleasantly surprised. Besides his offense will make up more then enough for any defensive issues.

    Also guys like Marion, Thompson and Varejao can all concentrate on defense and rebounding. Let LBJ, Love, Irving, Waiters, Miller and Jones handle the offense.

  • Jason Hurley

    It’s not as if LBJ is a slouch on defense either. If Irving and Waiters can improve at all by being able to give effort on that end (instead of saving it all for offense), there should be plenty of solid defense AND offense on this team.

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Amen

  • Jack

    Taylor wrote a letter about Love? That’s what ‘missive’ means.

  • lawrence

    I think they will be fine on that end of the floor if everyone buys into it