PORTLAND, Ore. — You’d think Rodney Hood would be sick of answering questions about last year’s disastrous postseason with the Cleveland Cavaliers. After all, it was one of the most painful and demoralizing experiences of his life.
Many players have been cast alongside LeBron James. Only a few have been able to withstand the pressure and the relentless scrutiny and emerge with their dignity and reputation still intact. Hood was decidedly not one of those players. Instead, he suffered through the worst stretch of his basketball career at the worst possible time, and it nearly undermined his place in the NBA altogether.
When the Cavs acquired him last season at the trade deadline to fortify their second unit and give LeBron some relief on offense, they were under the impression they were getting the lengthy and versatile combo guard who had given Utah better than 16 points per game on 38 percent shooting from behind the arc earlier that season. But Hood, the unassuming Mississippi native who’d spent his entire career up to that point on a small market team, never looked comfortable under the enormous expectations of making meaningful contributions to a Cavs team that had its eyes on a championship.
The media, at the time, wasn’t very kind about it. To be certain, his counting stats are still enough to make you shudder. Hood averaged a paltry 5.4 points per game and shot a brutal 16 percent from three, and he couldn’t even sniff the court in the Cavs’ Game 7 wins against Boston and Indiana. That’s before we get to the whole “he refused to check into a playoff game” thing.