J.R. Smith is having a slow start to the year. So far this year, he’s shooting and 23.4 percent from three and 27.9 percent overall while looking out of rhythm most of the time.
Getting Smith back on track is something the Cavs want to do, as it’ll give them some needed shooting with the starting lineup. And coach Tyronn Lue has a solution.
“We talked yesterday and today,” Lue said Monday, per cleveland.com. “J.R. has to take his shots, get back to being who he is: a gunslinger.”
“We expect him to take those shots and make those shots and not so worried about putting the ball on the floor as much. 'Just take your shots. If you're shooting too many or you're shooting bad shots, I'll let you know,” he added, per cleveland.com. “But we need him to get back to being who he is.”
After Sunday’s loss to the Hawks, Dwyane Wade offered his take on why Smith might be struggling.
“I don't know J.R. as a basketball player to that standpoint,” he said. “All I know is that he likes taking contested shots. But one thing I do know as a basketball player is the game is rhythm. And when you're all out of rhythm, those shots are not easy to take. So it may seem like a confidence thing, but sometimes it's a rhythm thing and the one thing which we're doing for Kyle - and Kyle does a great job of just keep moving, keep moving - we're running a lot of sets for Kyle to get good shots and right now J.R. is not getting those same opportunities so he's getting shots here and there. It's tough. It's tough when you're not in rhythm to take those kinds of shots. So that's the only thing I see but outside of that, we want him to take it. We talked to him about the one when I missed the three in the corner. We talked to him. He shot faked. We all want him to step to the side and shoot it."
Perhaps the Cavs will run more sets for Smith in an effort to get him going and let him get shots off like they’ve done with Korver. And they’d certainly be happy to have Smith back doing what he does best.