I still see the belief that playoffs would somehow provide a different playing level based on "intensity", but in reality the overall skills are much more important. You are also looking into exceptions as the means of your primary argument when in fact such "outliers" can very well be within the normal variance. Especially in the RS the schedule looks different for the teams and thus such results in a limited sample may very well give you a completely wrong picture of the situation. Sure, you notice that the Thunder are more likely to win against the Cavs than the 3-1 record for the Cavs suggests, but the 3-1 isn't likely to be caused by a lack of "motivation" on the Thunder part. There is a reason that worse teams have in average a worse record against better teams than they have a against worse teams. There is also a reason that players tend to produce better numbers against worse teams. And the reason here is simple the difference in playing level for the respective players and teams. If your idea would be true, such results would not be there, but players would rather have similar numbers against better and worse teams, because their supposed lack of motivation against worse teams would drag their numbers down. You looked at two more examples and found that they indeed have better numbers against worse teams. What does that tell you about the influence of "motivation" then?Mathketball wrote: Still, it's doubtful that the top players on the top teams are playing with playoff intensity in February against weaker competition (but to be fair, Minnesota was a decent team last year).
Also, I have a hard time taking someone serious in terms of player evaluation, who argues that Kevin Love based on playing style is closer to Zach Randolph than to Blake Griffin. Besides the rebounding element I can't imagine someone would picture the skillset of Love and Randolph to be somewhat equal ...
And regarding Varjeao: I don't put any faith into any player, but when we argue about the defense and how that would likely look like when the Cavs are trading for Love while sending out Wiggins, we can safely assume that Varjeao will make a bigger positive difference to the Cavs defense next season than Andrew Wiggins would, even if Vareajo would just play 40 games ... there is basically no precedent of a wing player at Wiggins age coming in and making a defensive impact like a good defensive C usually makes. And Varjeao has to be considered "good" in that aspect.
I also made the point in the answer to bondom343 that James might prepare himself for a better defensive season than the last season. That should compensate for anything which would potentially be lost on the defensive end what Wiggins could offer.
I understand your way of thinking, where you believe that the future is as important as the present and therefore such talent as Wiggins should rather be kept (and I assure you that I also think that, if the Cavs can get Love without giving up Wiggins, it would be preferable), but you have to realize how good Love is and you should not look at arbitrary ways to dimish that "goodness" while artificially raise Wiggins' value based on a believed potential (in that case on the defensive end). And then you have to realize that Love will just be 26yrs old at the start of the season, which in turn means you get that extremely good player in his prime without having to invest anything into his development. He is already on his level and given his skillset, he is well-suited for a long career. He also has a skillset which perfectly fits with James and plays a position where the Cavs don't have the quality, while Wiggins would likely interfere with James in terms of skillset and position.
At this point it is a no-brainer for the Cavaliers. Sure, that may turn out to be a bad decision, because Wiggins in 3yrs becomes the MVP and Love suffers an injury ... but that is not the most likely scenario.