J.R. Smith played in just 11 games last season, posting a career-low 6.7 points on 34% shooting. While Smith was an essential member of Cleveland’s mid-2010 campaign, his infamous meltdown in the 2018 Finals marked the beginning of a major downslide for the veteran shooting guard, and one that he has yet to recover from.
He was waived by Cleveland in July and has not yet found a team willing to give him another chance.
But in a Q&A session on Instagram, the NBA Champion made an interesting claim about his status among the best players in the world.
Question: What inspires you to keep going?
Smith: Knowing I’m still better than 85% of the players on the court.
For J.R., confidence is not in doubt. Rather, the questions are more about how much has left in the tank at 33-years-old.
As a perimeter catch-and-shoot player, he has a very specific type of skillset that helped him stay in the league for 15 years. But with his best days clearly behind him and a concerning reputation from those around the community, there are doubts about what exactly he can bring to a team at this stage of his career.
Nonetheless, he is working hard to prove the doubters wrong and he still believes in his talents. The Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets have been linked to Smith in the past, but it remains to be seen if their interest will materialize into anything real.