Kevin Love may start at center, relegating Tristan Thompson to bench

Kevin Love may start at center, relegating Tristan Thompson to bench

DunkWire

Kevin Love may start at center, relegating Tristan Thompson to bench

Now that Kyrie Irving is no longer on the Cleveland Cavaliers, Kevin Love could replace him as the leading three-point scorer for the team.

But this also means, as Dave McMenamin explained, that Love could end up getting more playing time at center next season (via ESPN):

“Kevin Love could be named the Cleveland Cavaliers’ permanent starter at center this season, with Tristan Thompson coming off the bench, coach Tyronn Lue said after practice Saturday. Love said he has played ‘quite a bit’ of time at the 5 with the Cavs’ first unit through the first week of training camp.”

Thompson has taken a total of nine three-pointers during his career, which averages less than two attempted per season. He is a nonfactor behind the arc. Love, however, averaged 6.5 attempts per game last season and shot 37.3 percent.

If the team decides to start Love at the five, Jae Crowder can then slide up to play at the four. He has practiced there this offseason. Crowder shot 39.8 percent from three-point range last season with a career-high 5.5 attempts per game.

When Thompson was asked about accepting a bench role in 2016, here is what he said (via Ohio.com):

“It’s all about winning games. If it means coming off the bench or starting, whatever it takes to win. My role doesn’t change. Come in and play hard.”

Meanwhile, at the guard position, JR Smith still expects to start despite the addition of Dwyane Wade. But if he and Thompson instead come off the bench, the two starting guards for the team will be Wade and Derrick Rose.

Neither Wade nor Rose boast the three-point accuracy of Isaiah Thomas, who is recovering from a hip injury.

Rose, however, recently said he “has been working on” shooting from long distance during the offseason. Last year, he averaged less than one attempt per game.

Even though he averaged less than one attempt per game in 2016-17, expect the 28-year-old point guard to take more shots from beyond the arc this year. Last year’s number of attempts was abnormally low, as his career-high is 5.3 three-point attempts per game and he has attempted more than four attempts per game during half of his seasons in the league.

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