SF/PF – 6’8, 220lbs – Born 16th September 1994
Loving has an enviable physical profile. Standing 6’8 with very long arms, he has a long languid stride, leaping ability and some straight-line speed, looking every inch the prototype NBA forward when measured solely athletically.
It is therefore a shame that he has yet to discover quite what to do with it. Loving’s game unfortunately is not so much categorised by that athleticism as it is his dispassionate style. There is a particular lack of hustle on the defensive end. Those long arms should make him a disruptive presence. Instead, though, Loving is a loafer, routinely driven past and without the tenacity to get into and stay in a stance, compete, fight for position or fight to recover. Were Loving so innately good of a shot maker that he offset the points he gave up, or at least committed enough to the rebounding end of the ball that he won possessions that way, that would be one thing. As it is, though, Loving is disinterested defensively.
He is also often disinterested offensively. Given that he spurns the post-up play (wise, given his wiry frame) and handles the ball little, a player of his length, smooth athleticism, finishing ability and finesse should be working to cut to the rim, run the court, play at least one half of the pick-and-roll more and look to create opportunities through movement. Instead, though, Loving wants to be a shooter, and yet the results are not there. With a profile like his, shooting should open up the rest of the game, not supplant it. Alas.
There is still time. Loving is still young. But five years of relatively high platforms on which to showcase himself have not seen much of a change, and potential must become reality at some point.
– 20th June, 2019
– View tons more player profiles like this from the Manifesto here.