Through two games of the NBA Finals, the Cavaliers have found themselves dealing with the same major problem that has plagued them all postseason (and all regular season) with regards to a lack of productivity from their backcourt.
George Hill has been spotty, most notably splitting a pair of free throws that could have given the Cavs the lead with seconds to play in Game 1. Jordan Clarkson has been, well, Jordan Clarkson, which is to say he’s been unrepentant with his shot selection and often looks lost on defense. J.R. Smith has been the worst version of J.R. Smith the Cavs could have imagined.
Mere weeks after being unconscious from three against the Raptors, Smith is now ice cold shooting the ball and made one of the worst mistakes in Finals history when he dribbled out the clock in Game 1 after rebounding that Hill missed free throw, thinking the Cavs had the lead when it was in fact tied. With Smith struggling so much and the other backcourt options not exactly flourishing, there is pressure on Ty Lue to try something else, and ahead of Game 3 it sounds like he’s ready to do just that, bringing Rodney Hood back into the rotation.
Hood was a disaster in the first three rounds of the playoffs and has found himself parked on the bench since midway through the Celtics series after Lue got pressed by The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd in a press conference as to why he was still in the rotation. Lue scoffed at the question, but two games later, Hood was out of the rotation.
Now, Hood will get a chance, which is probably the right move, but not one that inspires a lot of hope for the Cavs. They absolutely have to try something to cut down on Smith’s minutes given how poorly he’s performed, but it’s not as though Hood has been the obvious choice on the bench, what with his -19.5 net rating in 14 games this postseason. Still, Hood has been a good three-point shooter for his career and if he can find that stroke back in Cleveland it would be the kind of boost this Cavs team needs given how poorly the rest of the backcourt has shot during the Finals.