J.R. Smith back in the Cavs' starting lineup.
Just three games into the NBA season, Dwyane Wade has decided he'd be better served coming off the bench for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
According to NBA.com, the 35-year old shooting guard recently approached head coach Tyronn Lue and asked to be moved to a reserve role, which would allow J.R. Smith to run with the starting unit as he did last season.
Wade has struggled in his starting role with the Cavs thus far, shooting 28% from the field (7-for-25) while averaging just 5.7 points, two rebounds and 3.3. assists per game in 23.7 minutes of action. According to Kevin O'Connor, D-Wade has only come off the bench 11 times since 2003, but it seems like all parties involved support the move.
Wade told reporters Monday, per NBA.com,
"Before I decided to come here -- when I was thinking about coming here -- we talked about the team, what the team was and we both talked about the opportunity for me to kind of lead the second group," Wade said Monday. "But we also both talked about what I have always done my whole career -- I've always started.
"Our goal was to try and see how it was, but I just decided early [rather than] later just to get to the unit I would be more comfortable in and can probably be better with this team. Why wait? Three games in, why wait to get in there with those guys."
The move could also benefit J.R. Smith who has struggled since coming off the bench. J.R. is currently averaging 6.3 points and 2.7 rebounds on 33.3% shooting. When Smith originally found out that he'd be benched in favor of Wade prior to the start of the season, he said he was "hurt" and "emotionally drained."
"Honestly, I was hurt, man," Smith said (h/t Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com). "I was really emotionally drained at that point. I got wind of it that it was going to go down, but I didn't know. I was told he's going to be great for the second unit...It would be a great fit for the team, whatever, whatever. I'm like, 'Awesome, let's do it. One hundred percent. Out of all people, another person we're going to just grab for damn-near nothing? For sure. Let's do it.'"
The Cavs, 2-1, coming off a 114-93 loss to the Orlando Magic, will be back in action tomorrow night as they host the Chicago Bulls.
A new era. Dwyane Wade has come off the bench only 11 times in 1090 games since 2003. It's the right decision by the Cavaliers. https://t.co/h471VNmQxL— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) October 23, 2017