It’s Sunday around 3 p.m. I’m shooting free throws at the 24 Hour fitness in Denver, Colorado. I take a bad shot and this guy grabs the rebound and fires it back to me. This isn’t a strange occurrence at the basketball courts at the gym. He asks me do I know anything about basketball. I smiled and said, “Yes. I know a little bit about hoops.” He goes on to ask me the difference between the Hawks and the Cavs. Well you know me I just love talking about sports. He says that he loves Atlanta and tonight they will make their comeback by winning Game 3 in Cleveland. I started laughing because Kyrie Irving is hurt, Kevin Love is out and a couple of the guys are banged up. Atlanta is worse! “The LeBron” stopper has a hyper-extended knee, Kyle Korver is out and Al Horford is playing on two bad wheels. Who will Atlanta turn to Elton Brand? I told him not to fool himself and place no bets on Atlanta. Cleveland will win the East because of two unwanted players from New York, Iman Shumpert and J. R. Smith.
Let start with Iman Shumpert, he is a dynamic wing defender that can guard either shooting guard and small forwards. He get the defense assignments that make it so easy for LeBron James to roam the court and be in great position for help defense. He can also finish on the break and averages 8.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and shoots 41% from the field. When they (Cavs) brought him in January he was labeled the defensive stopper from the Knicks. When Kyrie Irving went down with the injury, Shumpert was the next man up.
J. R. Smith is one of my favorite players in the NBA. Smith is a special player with God given abilities to play all over the court. His 6`6, slightly bulky frame allows him to defend in the post as well as the wing. Smith is what some would call a knuckle head or renegade. He’s averaging 12.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.8 assist and shooting 41.7% percent from the field. “It`s kind of hard hitting the shots I was hitting, to try and pass the ball, but you’ve go to figure out a way.” James said after Game 1. Smith is a big game performer and he has the confidence to take shots no one else wants too.
I cheer for the underdog on every team. J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert are the two I want to see succeed because they have the talent to change games. I shared this info with the guy from the basketball court and he smiled. All he could say was, “I never thought about that!” You have to remember fans love to see guys score 30 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists that’s the beauty of the game but… “The only way they get those stats they have to have someone to do the dirty work!”