Trading for Kevin Love is the right move for the Cavaliers


(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Cleveland is about to have its own Big Three.

After weeks of speculation it appears the Cavaliers have finally worked out a trade that sends all-star forward Kevin Love to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Andrew Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a protected 2015 first-round draft pick.

Let’s start with the 20-year-old Bennett, the first overall pick of the 2013 NBA draft. The former UNLV standout averaged 4.2 points and three rebounds per game, shot 35.6 percent and resulted in minus-0.4 win shares for the Cavs – among the worst for his draft class. Not exactly a stellar debut and not encouraging for the future. Here is a list of forwards over the past decade with negative win shares in their rookie season despite playing 500 minutes or more:

FnegativeWS

Kris Humphries turned in decent seasons for the New Jersey Nets and did well in Boston last season, but those came after he turned 25 years old. Corey Brewer accumulated 5.2 win shares for Minnesota last season, but that was in his seventh year. The rest of the list is rather undistinguished, and it is looking like Bennett may be more of a fringe star or role player than perennial all-star.

Andrew Wiggins is more of an unknown. He was taken with the top pick in the draft and should be a star, but like any draft pick it is a crapshoot.

According to 82games.com, the chance of a top pick having a “star” career is 70 percent with just a 5percent chance of being a bust. Research at Fivethirtyeight.com estimates the No. 1 overall pick produces an average of 33.9 wins in the five seasons following their selection.

Love produced 32.7 win shares in his first five seasons despite missing most of 2012-13 because of injury. Other forwards in this range include Carlos Boozer, Paul Millsap and Luis Scola.

So the Cavs are giving up Bennett (who could possibly be a bust) and Wiggins (who could turn out to be a Boozer/Millsap type) for Love, who, according to Basketball-Reference.com, has the same career shape as the following players: Chris Mullin, Scottie Pippen, Amar’e Stoudemire, Richard Jefferson, Peja Stojakovic, Tracy McGrady, Shawn Kemp, Kevin Garnett, Horace Grant and Rudy Tomjanovich. Here is their production from their seventh season to the end of their career:

LoveSIM

Plus, adding Love gives Cleveland an expected 63-win season, enough to put them in solid contention for a championship title.

The price for Love seems high, but once you start looking at the pieces, it is clear the Cavaliers made the right deal for both now and the future.

 

Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced sports statistics for the Fancy Stats blog and prefers to be called a geek rather than a nerd.
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