J.R. Smith‘s struggles haven’t been the biggest news to come out of Cleveland in the last few weeks, but the veteran guard looking like a shell of himself has turned some heads for all the wrong reasons. Known for being a dynamic scorer, Smith is averaging a career-low 7.4 points on 36.7 shooting from the field and 33.8 percent shooting from three.
With Cavaliers coach Ty Lue announcing he plans on making a change to the team’s lineup on the heels of a stretch that includes three wins in their last 13 games, moving Smith to the bench seems to make sense. As it turns out, in the event that happens, Smith would be fine with the arrangement.
Dave McMenamin of ESPN reported that Smith, understanding that his performance has not been up to par, would not be opposed to coming off the bench. This is in stark contrast to earlier this season, when he wasn’t happy about losing his starting job to Dwyane Wade.
Smith, who balked at his demotion earlier in the season when Dwyane Wade began the year as the starting shooting guard, told ESPN that he would hold no ill feelings and would accept a bench role now if it would help the team. He acknowledged that he isn’t playing up to his standards and wants the team to play better.
It remains to be seen if this is ultimately the move Lue makes, but it seems much easier to move Smith to the bench if he’s willing to accept a reduced role to help the team. Cleveland doesn’t play again until Friday when it hosts the Pacers, so if Lue hasn’t figured out exactly what he wants to do yet, he still has plenty of time to try and figure a new rotation out.
And who knows? Maybe coming off the bench can help jump start what has been a rough season for Smith if all goes right.