J.R. Smith has had a nightmare of a season for the Cavaliers between struggling with his jumper, playing mediocre defense, and of course, chucking some soup at Damon Jones.
Well, it took another body shot on Monday and Tyronn Lue didn’t exactly ease the blow.
"We didn't talk," JR Smith told ESPN of his benching. "(Tyronn Lue) sent me a text (Monday) and I told him, 'No problem.' I didn't know that it was a 'talk.' ... I'm not upset about it. I just wish there would have been more dialogue, I guess."— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) March 14, 2018
Well, that’s one way to find out you’ve lost your starting job. It’s hard to say that Smith has earned the role this season, though many fans have been quick to overlook his importance to the team when he’s on his game.
Lue not having an actual discussion with Smith is a tough, tough look no matter how poorly Smith’s been playing. The Cavaliers don’t win a title without Smith, and any player deserves the dignity of a one-on-one conversation to learn that he’s losing his starting job.
Smith seemed unsure as to how he’s going to fit in the second unit, via Dave McMenamin’s report on ESPN:
“Honestly I don’t know. I don’t know. But I think it’s good for the first unit though because we actually get to have someone out there we’re going to run stuff for and who is a threat, as opposed to having somebody who is not an option.”
“My performance has been steady -- it has not been great, it’s been a lot of bad shooting nights -- so it’s been a pretty steady pace,” Smith said.
Yeesh. Those quotes are hard to read. Smith clearly isn’t happy in the offense and he’s lacking for confidence in himself, something that you rarely have seen from Smith in his career. A quote like that is a far cry from Smith’s famous “When in doubt, shoot” line that he delivered shortly after arriving in Cleveland.
It’s starting to feel like the Cavaliers won’t be able to help Smith find his past glory with the team. They currently appear to be in danger of losing him altogether. We’ll have to see what the implications are if the latter comes to pass.