J.R. Smith continues to impress with his rejuvenated play

CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 20: Head Coach Tyronn Lue exchanges a high five with JR Smith
CLEVELAND, OH - JANUARY 20: Head Coach Tyronn Lue exchanges a high five with JR Smith /

Over the past month, J.R. Smith has been playing his best basketball by far this season. His confidence is at an all-time high, as is his energy and competitiveness. I think it’s safe to say, he’s back.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been on a tear lately and partially because of JR Smith’s recent play. Before I begin to break down J.R. Smith’s very impressive play recently, I think it’s safe to say this picture pretty much explains it all.


If you don’t quite remember what happened in the moments this picture was taken, the video below will explain it all very effectively.

Now, in all seriousness, Smith has indeed been playing remarkably good basketball as of late. He has very quickly turned around what was arguably his worst season as a pro, into a very promising one. This month alone, “Swish” is averaging 14.0 points and 4.2 rebounds, while shooting 54.5% from the field and 54.8% from three-point range.

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When you compare that to his overall stats this season, 8.5 points and 3.1 rebounds on 40.0% shooting from the field and 37.6% from three, it’s obvious he’s been playing much better.

Not only is Smith shooting more efficiently, but he’s shooting more. In the month of February, he is shooting 9.2 shots per game, which is the most he has shot this year. In addition, his 7.0 threes per game are also the most he’s been able to shoot this year.

Switching gears, Smith’s rejuvenated play almost seems to be the effect of the numerous trade rumors involving him. Leading up to the deadline, the Cavs included Smith in numerous deals, however, thankfully, nobody wanted him.

It’s no secret that this year hasn’t been Smith’s best. He started off the year in October very poorly, scoring just 5.4 points on 25.9% shooting from the field and a horrendous 17.1% from three. He himself even wondered why head coach Tyronn Lue continued to play him.

"ESPN’s Dave McMenamin: “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.”"

However, Smith’s inconsistency is the absolute reason why it would’ve been foolish for the Cavs to trade him.

Yes, there are times when Smith struggles and hurts the team. Yet, there are also times when JR single-handedly leads the Cavs back into games, just look back at the 2017 NBA Finals. That right there makes him invaluable for Cleveland.

Now that the deadline has passed, JR Smith can play comfortably and confidently, which he clearly has been. As one of the key players on the team, the Cavaliers need him to be himself.

Who is he you might ask?

Someone who doesn’t think, he just shoots.

Must Read: The Cleveland Cavaliers must win the All-Star break