No, there isn’t a single hole on the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse floor that sits directly below the Cleveland Cavaliers’ bench. And no, the Cavs didn’t try to cover up the hole with a white piece of paper.

But all the misinformed early hand-wringing about the season-ending injury to Miami Heat guard Dru Smith ignores the most important question surrounding it. Do the Cavs really need to be playing on a court that sits multiple feet above the arena’s natural surface? The answer seems obvious, but former Cavs champion turned NBA analyst Richard Jefferson doesn’t see the problem.

After Smith, an undrafted guard who’d recently forced his way into Miami’s rotation, suffered a sprained ACL while stepping off the raised floor during Miami’s blowout win over the Cavs on Wednesday, Jefferson set the record straight about the alleged ‘hole’ in the Cavs’ home court.

But he pushed back on the notion that Cleveland’s raised court is an injury hazard, pointing to the “thousands of games” and “5 NBA Finals”—two of which he played in beside LeBron James in 2015 and 2016—that have taken place at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse without incident.

Dru Smith’s bad break on Cavs floor

Erik Spoelstra believes Dru Smith's injury on the Cavs court was a long time coming

Erik Spoelstra, no surprise, disagrees. After Smith’s right leg slid off the Cavs’ court, ending his potentially career-changing season prematurely, the Heat’s coach called the raised surface “dangerous” and an “accident” his players have narrowly avoided on multiple occasions in past seasons.

“It’s a dangerous floor. I don’t the history of injuries here but we’ve had a couple near scares in previous years when guys are closing out in that corner,” Spoelstra said. “Thankfully, nobody’s been injured before but it’s an accident waiting to happen. You close out and all of a sudden you’re going off a cliff. It’s just so dangerous. As soon as he stayed down, we all knew that’s probably what happened.”

Undrafted out of Missouri in 2021, Smith spent his rookie season with the G League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce. He signed a two-way deal with Miami prior to last season only to be waived and sent back down to the Skyforce, a month later inking another two-way contract with the Brooklyn Nets. The 25-year-old appeared in 15 total games in 2022-23 with the Heat and Nets as a deep reserve.

Smith went back to Miami on a two-way before Summer League, where he proved his bonafides as a potential full-roster player. He lived up to that promise in the season’s early going, four times notching over 20 minutes off the bench as the Heat dealt with injuries. Smith averaged 4.3 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 14.6 minutes per game before going down, his solid defense and playmaking supplemented by 41.2% three-point shooting, easily the best mark of his career.

Smith’s absence for the remainder of 2023-24 cuts into Miami’s already questionable quality and depth in the backcourt. Tyler Herro has been out since November 8th with a Grade 2 ankle sprain, while Josh Richardson has underwhelmed in his South Beach return and Kyle Lowry—effective as he’s been—is overstretched as a high-minute player in the regular season at 37 years old.