One bright spot for the Cleveland Cavaliers is that Kevin Love is playing better in the paint this season than he has in recent years.
According to Cleaning The Glass, this is his career-high in shooting accuracy near the rim.
Love was working towards this last season, improving from 0.86 points per possession on post-up opportunities during the 2015-16 season to 0.98 points per possession on the same play type last year.
For comparison, his 71.1 field goal percentage in the restricted area so far during this season is significantly better than the 39.1 mark he recorded during the 2017 NBA Finals.
This year, he ranks Top 20 in field goal percentage in the restricted area among players who have taken as many shots in that zone, via NBA.com.
Earlier this month was the first time in his career that he scored 30 points without attempting a three-pointer. Watch the highlights of his play in the paint above.
After the game, Love spoke about his performance (via Cleveland.com):
“I just wanted to establish myself early in the paint and maybe get some easy buckets because I kind of felt myself drifting a little bit in the last few games.”
Head coach Ty Lue recently said he likes when defenders play up a position to guard Love because “there isn’t a wing” who can guard him in the post.
Love might be averaging fewer points and rebounds per game than last year but if he uses the paint to advantage more often, expect him to improve as the season continues.