Cavs' Smith shows more defensive commitment for NBA games

NBA 2K17 MT Coins — Anyone who thinks J.R. Smith is one of those NBA players whose 

idea of defense is taking the ball out of the net after his opponent scores hasn't 

been paying attention.

That might have been Smith's reputation earlier in his career. But that's not how 

he has approached his craft for at least several ... uh, months? Weeks?

"I used to be a guy who, my pride in my work was pretty much on how I shot the 

ball," the Cleveland Cavaliers' shooting guard said. "I try not to be that person 

anymore. Not let, whether I make a shot or miss a shot, define what I can do on a 

court. I try to start energy and then bring everything else on the defensive side 

and let my defense turn into transition offense."

Smith, 30, is wrapping up his 12th NBA season, so this most definitely falls into 

the old dog/new trick category. The obvious question, then, was: Why now?

"My daughter, actually," Smith said, referring to 7-year-old Demi Smith, around 

whose little finger pop apparently is wrapped.

"I was having a conversation with my daughter earlier this year about her 

sacrificing her toys, because she wants new toys," Smith said. "I was like, 'Baby, 

if you want more toys, you're going to have to sacrifice and give these other toys 

away to people who can't afford them or maybe are less fortunate.' She was like, 

'Well, daddy, what are you going to sacrifice?'

"I sat there and honestly thought about it. And one thing that I can control is my 

defense. How I come in and impact the game. I talked to her about it, and even 

though she doesn't understand exactly from a basketball term, she understands..."

So yes, 12 years in, it was a conversation with his child about toys that persuaded 

a guy who already has been paid upwards of $40 million in his career to get serious 

about something that represents one half of how he logs his time.

OK, so. Smith's defense has been a welcome new facet to his game and has come in 

handy for the Cavaliers in this postseason, most notably against Atlanta's Kyle 

Korver in the Eastern Conference semifinals. He was more attentive at that end, 

too, in the first round against the likes of Detroit's Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and 

in the East finals when matched with Toronto's DeMar DeRozan.

GameTime: Adjustments For Cavaliers

The GameTime crew discusses some of the adjustments that the Cavaliers can make 

ahead of Game 2 of the    .