LeBron James rarely takes a backseat to anyone. But persistent back problems have forced the four-time MVP to take on a lesser role this season. LeBron has endorsed Kevin Love as the new focal point of the Cavs’ offense, predicting that his all-star teammate will have a “hell of a season.”
On Wednesday, Love led the Cavaliers with 17 points and 13 rebounds in their crushing 106-76 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies. “We’ll use Kevin however he wants to be used,” LeBron told reporters after the game. “I told you Kevin is going to be our main focus. He’s going to have a hell of a season. He’s going to get back to that All-Star status,” added LeBron.
Last season, Love’s numbers saw a significant dip following his trade, going from 26.1 points and 12.5 rebounds in 2013-14 with Minnesota Timberwolves, to a 16.4 and 9.7 aggregate last year.
But LeBron is confident that the Power Forward will prove his worth after Love signed a five-year $110 million extension during the offseason. “He’s the focal point of us offensively. I know I can go out and get mine when I need it. But I need Kev to be as aggressive as he was tonight, and when he rebounds at the level he did tonight, the shots will automatically fall for him,” LeBron said Wednesday.
Cavaliers coach David Blatt, who last week said Love was in the best shape of his life, echoed LeBron’s sentiments. “I’ve said that he was very active in terms of conditioning,” said the second-year coach. “And obviously, in terms of the rehab, he couldn’t and didn’t get involved in contact work until just a few weeks ago. So as far as game rhythm, I think it’s natural that he’s a little bit behind as far as that’s concerned. But you didn’t see it tonight. He was not only active, but he was very efficient, and he’s played two pretty good games for us after sitting out for a long, long time. A lot of credit to him,” added Blatt.