To be a great defender in the NBA, players need to be disciplined and have great patience. These characteristics aren’t the type of descriptors commonly used for J.R. Smith but the Cavs guard is actually a solid defender, capable of slowing down an opponent’s top scorer. This has been Smith’s role in the playoffs for the Cavs as he had to guard Pacers All-Star Paul George in the first-round and Raptors scorer DeMar DeRozan in the second-round.
Smith was very effective against DeRozan whenever they were matched up against each other. Throughout the entire four-game sweep by the Cavs, Smith’s defense played a big role in Cleveland limiting DeRozan from every getting into a solid rhythm. But Smith did make one mistake while guarding DeRozan and it cost him. Literally.
Smith had a running bet with Tyronn Lue where every time he bit on a pump fake from DeRozan, he would owe the Cavs coach a hundred dollars. The pump fake is a big part of DeRozan’s offensive repertoire so the bet was a true challenge for Smith. However, Smith actually was very disciplined against DeRozan and didn’t bite on any of his pump fakes. That is until Game 4, where Smith got faked out by DeRozan one time. And since he messed up, Smith had to pay up.