JR Smith Considered Benching Himself, But Then Explains Why He Decided to Just Keep Shooting

The Cleveland Cavaliers have had a roller coaster ride that started August 22, 2017. Isaiah Thomas was traded, along with Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and the Brooklyn Nets unprotected 2018 first-round draft pick, to the Cavs in exchange for All-Star guard Kyrie Irving.

Cavs definitely won that trade, but things didn’t work out that way according to ESPN. JR Smith explains what has been going on with this Cavs roster after a win in Boston over the Celtics.

“It’s crazy,” we were on the plane on the way [to Boston] and I just started looking around and only really [four] seats are still the same from when we like you said, won the championship. … I just told the guys, ‘Man, this is crazy. We really like, got a whole new, a whole new team.’ And I looked across and Bron was just shaking his head like, ‘Yeah, yeah, but we got a f—ing squad, too.'”

The new squad features George Hill, Larry Nance Jr., Jordan Clarkson and Rodney Hood.

That squad might have helped out Smith as he looked tremendous on the court. He was hustling making plays and shots that we’re accustomed to seeing from Swish. He showed signs that he’s not done yet and to not give up on him even though through half the season Swish didn’t look engaged or happy with his role.

Swish is a huge reason the Cavs were able to overcome a 3-1 deficit to the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Finals. Having him play the way he did versus the Celtics just shows his importance. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue doesn’t plan on giving up on Swish as ESPN caught up with him on Monday.

“JR’s done a lot for us, “If it wasn’t for JR in ’16 making those eight straight points coming out in the third quarter, we don’t win the championship. People saying, ‘Quit on JR, give up on JR.’ It’s not right. And he gives us effort and energy every night. Sometimes your shot is going to come and go, that’s just part of the game. For the most part, his effort is there every night. That’s why I wanted to stick with JR and I don’t want to lose JR. Make sure [to] keep him in good spirits, going in the right direction. He’s big for us. When he’s making shots, when he’s being aggressive, our team is a whole different team.”

Regardless of where you stand on Swish, he proved that you can’t give up on him. Yes, he’s had a streaky season, and wasn’t engaged, but with these recent trades maybe Swish is back? Not to mention Swish said there were times he was playing so bad, he asked Lue to just bench him.

“There were times when I wanted to go to [Lue] and be like, ‘Listen, man, I’m not playing well. Why not take me out?'” said Smith, who in 14 games this season has scored three points or fewer. “Fortunately, I didn’t and just stuck with it. I’ve known T-Lue since my rookie year. Our relationship is based on communication — how he communicates with me, how I communicate with him. He’s been really consistent at that.”

Lue didn’t give up on Swish and he will continue to start. When Kevin Love returns and is hitting on all cylinders, the sky is the limit with this team. The goal is a championship with this Cavs team, and with the recent play of their new teammates and a revitalized Swish, things are looking up in Cleveland. You can catch the Cavs tonight as they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder tonight on TNT at 5:00 PM.