One of the most disappointing aspects of this season has been the play of J.R. Smith. The Cleveland Cavalier just haven’t seen anything resembling the Smith of the last few years, as he has been tentative to shoot, a non-factor on defense, and ineffective as a shooter when he does shoot.
The veteran guard went through so much adversity last season, dealing with both injury, as well as his newborn daughter being born 5 months premature. He bounced back in the post-season, shooting 50.5 percent from the floor and 50 percent from three.
But this season, there has been no bounce back. Smith is shooting the worst percentage from behind the arc since his rookie year. To make matters worse, his defense has been non-existent all year. His role has changed a few times and he just hasn’t seemed to adjust.
In acknowledgement of his struggles, Smith indicated to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin that he would be willing to come off the bench to help the team. Head coach Tyronn Lue has indicated that he will be making a change to the starting lineup prior to Friday’s game, but has not stated what that change will be.
Ultimately, the decision isn’t really in his hands. But it is good to see this attitude from Smith, who has given so much to this organization. Maybe he just doesn’t have it in him to make a high-level impact anymore. Or maybe moving to the bench will help him break out of his funk. Either way, this season has been a tough one for one of the more beloved members of this roster.