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Cleveland Cavaliers star JR Smith has conceded that the reason he has improved since joining the franchise is because it’s all basketball in the city and no partying.
Smith is averaging 14.2 points per game and is hitting 39.7 percent of his shots from beyond the arc in his last 10 games.
While that is still far from efficient, he appears to be fitting in better in Cleveland than he did at the end of his time with the New York Knicks and now has a definitive role to play on the team.
Naturally, playing alongside the likes of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love certainly helps his situation, but he puts his improvement down to being more focused after moving to Cleveland.
“I think this is the best situation for me, ’cause there’s nothing but basketball. There’s nothing you expect but basketball. There’s nothing, there’s no going out, there’s no late nights. There’s video games, basketball and basketball. So it’s a great thing, ’cause I go back to where I came from,” Smith told David Aldridge.
“When I grew up, I never, I wasn’t allowed to go out. I missed my prom because I went to an AAU tournament, and all that stuff. For me, it was basketball, basketball, basketball. And then when I got in the situation where I was at an early age, it was more, alright, let me see what this life is about, as opposed to just keep going. So now, I get the chance to get back to my roots.”
The 29-year-old was a key part of the Knicks’ rise two years ago where they appeared to be legitimate contenders in the East as he also won Sixth Man of the Year honours that season.
However, it has been a struggle for the franchise over the last year and a half, particularly this year after team president Phil Jackson arrived and wanted to implement new strategies and systems under first-year coach Derek Fisher.
Nevertheless, in such a big market, Smith was arguably bogged down with the weight of expectation as well as the distractions that can be found in New York. While there are distractions in any city, it appears as though Smith is content with being in Cleveland and trying to help the Cavs reach their ultimate goal of winning a championship.