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This week in small sample size: looking for J.R. Smith

It's the second week of #SmallSampleSize with equal the amount of overreaction from the last week.

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Three games were played by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the last week, giving them a total of 10 games played on the season, which means we're still in small sample size territory.

J.R. Smith, where art thou scoring ability?

The number(s): 30 percent shooting, 25 percent three-point shooting

Small Sample says: "Sigh"

If you thought LeBron James's shot was bad, take a look at Smith's shot chart this season:


In a vacuum, this is alarming. Smith is a shooter, and if his shot isn't falling at all, he's rendered as a near useless player. In fact, only six players have a lower win share than his -0.2 this year. However, the masses should not be worried. After doing some semi-decent research, Smith has historically started each season off slow.

Smith has always been, and always will be, a streaky shooter. Right now, his shot happens to be on the wrong side of that streak.

Sustainability: Low

Maybe they're too open?

The number: 33.0 percent shooting on wide-open three-pointers (25th in the league)

Small sample size says: "We just can't shoot anymore!"

I've always had this weird theory that players can sometimes be too open. Meaning, basically, the pressure from being that open gives them a lesser chance of making that shot than if they were kind of open. Of course, I've only tested this theory in pick-up games and not actual NBA games.

According to, a "wide-open shot" is when there isn't a defender within six-plus feet of the shooter. In comparison, that's the same distance from the free throw line to the top of the circle. That's a lot of room to comfortably get a shot off. So shooting 33.0 percent with basically no one guarding you isn't what people would consider "good."

Plenty can be made of this, but here's can be said about this. At some point, the Cavs will regress higher toward the mean, which means Smith, James and even Kevin Love will start to find their shots, and the return of Kyrie Irving, whenever that may be, will certainly help.

Sustainability: Moderately low

Lineup alert: Joe Harris-Matthew Dellavedova-Jared Cunningham

The number: 225.0 defensive rating in five minutes played together

Small sample size says: "WHY WOULD THIS EVER HAPPEN"

They're only played five minutes together, but in those five minutes they've given up 21 POINTS. Over the course of 48 minutes, that's 201 points, which would be an NBA record.