LeBron + Love should = speed


Projecting how the Cleveland Cavaliers should play with Kevin Love alongside LeBron James is not a challenge, at least on the surface.

We're talking about the world's best player at one forward spot, with arguably the best rebounding/deep-shooting big man ever to play the game at the other forward position. What can't they do, especially when factoring in a great shooter/scorer at point guard in  Kyrie Irving? But the question for coach David Blatt is not "what style best suits our talent?" but rather "what style best suits this roster while also matching up better against our top competitors?"

There are many variables to consider, and the reality is that teams can and do adjust their styles as the season evolves, something Blatt proved to be a master of in Europe. In theory, though, unless the Cavs can suddenly add a lot more size to this roster (size that can play), there really is a pretty basic formula if they want to have a great chance at a ring : Run (fast), shoot (often), and pass, pass, pass. 

This is not a new way to play the game, as we only have to look at how the San Antonio Spurs dismantled the Miami Heat to see how effective this style can be. The great irony in the NBA is that the Spurs' brand is about defense and toughness -- thanks to their titles in the 2000s that resulted from playing this way -- but in reality their offense has more closely resembled the "7-Seconds-or-Less" version from the great Steve Nash teams in Phoenix, the most exciting offenses we have seen in more than a decade. The Spurs did not play quite as fast as the Suns did overall, but that was mostly due to not being as devoted to quick shots in transition as consistently as Phoenix was.

Both teams thrived, though, by constantly applying offensive pressure, putting the ball in the hands of the player who was in position to be a threat. This gave defenders very little time to think, adjust or anticipate. It also gave them little time to rest. On a team featuring James, Love, Irving and Anderson Varejao in the starting unit, this style can be incredibly successful.

Offensive options

We don't yet know who will be starting at shooting guard for the Cavaliers, though it makes sense that they will want someone who can shoot the 3. With that in place, the Cavs' offense will feature four players who can make 3s at a high percentage -- in and of itself making them a formidable offense even with just a "good" small forward.

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