August 26, 2014

All the numbers on new Cleveland star Kevin Love

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Minnesota Timberwolves

Analyzing the statistics on the soon-to-be-acquired power forward

Where does Kevin Love rank in the NBA’s elite class?

Confidently, I’d say he’s a top-12 player. In case you haven’t done this exercise in a while, it is indeed very difficult to rank NBA players. We know pretty well that the top three are LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul. From there … there are lots of possible directions one could go, both anecdotally and statistically.

ESPN Insider’s Kevin Pelton ($) recently argued that Love is a current top-five player. For me, that seems a bit too high too soon. Love is only 25 years old, after all1. He’s only a three-time All-Star. He missed most of 2012-13 and was inefficient when he played that season. He’s at best a purely average defensive player. Is he that concretely better and more dominant than Blake Griffin, Chris Bosh, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwight Howard AND Anthony Davis? He’s maybe better than some, but not likely all. That’s why I prefer to say top-12 with confidence. And I hope to explain why in this post. [Read more...]

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Footnotes:

  1. Here’s your scary reminder that Durant is three weeks younger than Love, but we never use age as an excuse for his ranking. []

NBA News: Cavs on Oden’s short list

A source close to Greg Oden has told ESPN.com that the Cavaliers are one of five teams the former number one pick is considering signing with this summer. Along with the Cavaliers, Oden is expected to choose from a list of teams that include the Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies, Boston Celtics, and San Antonio Spurs .

Additionally, a source close to Oden has told ESPN’s J.A. Adande that San Antonio and Cleveland “appear to be the best fit” for the 25-year-old center.

This isn’t the first time the Cavs and Oden have been linked together as the Oden rumors started flying back in January. Then, in March, Oden was in attendance at The Q to watch his former high school and Buckeye teammate, Mike Conley, as the Cavs hosted the Grizzlies.

Oden, currently a resident of Columbus, received a large round of applause from the Cleveland crowd as his face was shown on the jumbo-tron multiple times throughout the game.

“I live in Ohio. It’s home now,” Oden said following the game. “They have a great organization and I really do think they’re up and coming.”

Coming into the off-season center was a big need for the Cavaliers, but after passing on opportunities to add prospects Nerlens Noel and Alex Len in last week’s draft the need is still there.

Although Oden’s camp expects him to be ready for the 2013-14 season, he hasn’t played a game since since December 5, 2009 and underwent a third microfracture surgery on his knee in February of 2012. He won’t be someone a team can count on to step in and start at center, but could be a great low risk, high reward signing for whoever he ends up with.

The Cavs are also reported to have “strong interest” in Minnesota center and restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic are said to be “kicking the tires” on free agent Andrew Bynum. If Houston ends up landing the services of Dwight Howard, the Rocket’s Omer Asik could be another possible name on the list of the Cavaliers’ hunt for a big man.

[Related: Pro's and con's of Greg Oden]

NBA Free Agency: Cavs have “strong interest” in Nikola Pekovic

The Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly have a “strong interest” in adding Minnesota Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic via free agency.

Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio reports that the Cavaliers are high on the bruising seven-footer, but the player’s representation has yet to hear from the Cleveland collective. Minnesota recently extended a qualifying offer to Pekovic, however, and new team president Flip Saunders has called retaining the big man a “priority.” The Wolves have roughly $16 million in cap space, but could balk at a deal similar to the back-loaded (“poison pill”) contracts recently signed by Houston’s Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik. Amico adds that Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is believed to not be willing to match any substantial offers (Pekovic, 27, is a restricted free agent), presumably out of desire to maintain the ability to keep both forward Kevin Love and point guard Ricky Rubio long term. 

The three-year veteran is coming off of a season where he averaged 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in 31.6 minutes per contest, but has missed 32 games over the past two seasons with various injuries. Weighing almost 300 pounds, Pekovic would immediately provide the Cavaliers with a big-bodied true center who would provide Mike Brown with a frontcourt rotation that would feature Pekovic, Anderson Varejao, Tristan Thompson, No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett and Tyler Zeller.

[Related: Cavaliers need to just walk away from Andrew Bynum]

NBA Trade Rumor: Cavaliers, T-Wolves Talking Trade Involving Varejao

It’s being reported by Legion Sports (@MySportsLegion) that the Cavaliers and Minnesota Timberwolves are discussing a trade involving Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao as well as Minnesota forward Derrick Williams and center Nikola Pekovic.

Varejao, 30, is in his ninth year with the Cavaliers and is averaging 14.1 points and 14.4 rebounds and a 22.08 PER this season in 25 games. He is under contract for up to two more seasons after this one. Andy has missed the team’s last nine games due to a bruised right knee. This is far from the first time that Varejao’s name has been mentioned in trade rumors this season.

Williams was the second pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, being selected immediately after Kyrie Irving. He is averaging 8.5 points and 4.2 rebounds with a 15.64 PER in 26 games (9 starts) and 17.4 minutes per contest. He is a 6’8″, 21-year-old power forward out of Arizona that had similar numbers in more playing time last season. He would be under team control for at least three more seasons, same as Kyrie.

Pekovic, 27, is a 6’11″, 290 lb. center from Montenegro in his third NBA season. Nikola is averaging 15.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and a 19.35 PER in 28 games (all starts) and 31.5 minutes per night. He is a free agent at season’s end.

Related: Trading Varejao Still Doesn’t Make Sense