Before the season Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh made some interesting comments about the downside of playing with LeBron James.
Bosh had to sacrifice his game more than anyone else during Miami’s Big 3 era, and he warned Kevin Love and the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers that they were going to go through the same thing.
It wasn’t a criticism of James, it was a recognition that going from being a star player to a sidekick is a difficult transition.
“Everybody says they want to win,” Bosh told Bleacher Report. “But when you start talking about sacrifice and doing what’s right for the team, it’s like, ‘Wait a minute, I didn’t mean that. I want to win, but…’ There’s always a conjunction with that. It’s never what you think it is. And it’s always like your weakest point where you got to do it.”
He warned Kevin Love that learning to take a backseat to the best player in the world would be “extremely difficult and extremely frustrating.”
After 13 games, it looks like Bosh’s prediction was spot on. The Cavs are 6-7, and Love is struggling to find his role in the offence.
A year ago Love was one of the most unstoppable offensive players in the league. He averaged nearly 26 points and got to the free throw line about eight times per game. He finished the season third in player efficiency rating, behind only LeBron and Kevin Durant.
This year his numbers have fallen off a cliff. He’s averaging about 16 points and getting to the free throw line five times per game. He’s taking six fewer shots a night and shooting 40%, his worst shooting percentage since his injury-plagued 2012-13 season.
Love sounded dejected when talking to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin about feeling lost:
“It’s come to a point where I’m just trying to find myself in this offence. It’s almost related to when you come into the league; usually the guys that dominate the ball so much tend to learn a lot quicker than a guy like myself, a big man. So, I’m just trying to find different spots in the offence.”
“Like anything it’s going to take time. I’m not worried about it. I’m not mad at it, don’t feel any sort of grudge or anything like that. I just want to help this team. I think I came here to win and we’re going to figure it out. It’s still early.”
Love has gone from the center of the universe in Minnesota to a bit part in Cleveland. He’s not getting the ball as often as he’d like, or in the areas of the court that he’d like. But that’s the sacrifice he made by orchestrating his trade to Cleveland — this isn’t something he never saw coming.
Back in October Bosh used a food analogy to describe the exact thing that Love is going through on the court:
“You just get your entree and that’s it. It’s like, wait a minute, I need my appetizer and my dessert and my drink, what are you doing? And my bread basket. What is going on? I’m hungry! It’s a lot different. But if you can get through it, good things can happen. But it never gets easy. Even up until my last year of doing it, it never gets easier.”
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