Cavs SG J.R. Smith admits it’s a ‘lot of pressure’ to play with LeBron James
Veteran guard J.R. Smith has played the last three-and-a-half seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers while experiencing a tremendous amount of success along the way. Throughout that process, he has continued to play a prominent role in the offensive game plan behind four-time league MVP LeBron James.
This has given Smith a strong feel for what fully entails playing alongside James that has placed a tremendous level of expectations on the franchise over the last few seasons. According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, the 32-year-old admitted on Saturday afternoon that there is a large amount of pressure to play with 14-time All-Star.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 2, 2018
There is certainly much credence to what Smith is stating given that it is an opportunity that can be flipped in both directions. James is arguably one of the best players in league history that brings plenty of pressure on the rest of the team to do its part in helping win NBA titles. Granted, he has shown throughout his career that he can lift much of the talent around him with his all-around play, it does require his teammates to do their parts in pushing the franchise to the ultimate goal.
James has done more than enough heavy lifting in this year’s playoffs. It’s obviously led to a fourth-straight NBA Finals appearance despite what many analysts believe is one of the weakest supporting casts that James has had in his illustrious career. It simply means the here and now is a chance for his teammates namely Smith to step up to show that they can push Cleveland past the Golden State Warriors.
This will likely see another huge performance from James in Game 2, but this is an opportunity for the Cavaliers to bounce back after a disappointing loss in the series opener. The pressure is certainly there. It may just be a matter of if the rest of the players on the roster can respond.