Cavs’ Rodney Hood wants to earn respect back this season
After a forgettable 2017-18 season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Rodney Hood is on a mission to earn everybody’s respect back this year. The 25-year-old guard opened up to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com and shared that the 2018-19 campaign isn’t about a contract but about redeeming himself to the Cavs and the city.
“Just knowing the work I’ve put in, knowing the type of player I believe I am and what I’ve already done in the league,” Hood said when asked why he was willing to take that risk after such a poor start with the Cavs. “It’s not about a contract. That will take care of itself. This year it’s about getting back to myself and earning my respect back.”
After averaging 16.8 points per game with the Utah Jazz, Hood was acquired by Cleveland in a three-team trade deadline deal that was meant to revitalize a franchise going through the throes of life without Kyrie Irving and struggling to find that perimeter threat that could give the team some semblance of their old Big 3.
Though Hood got off to a running start in the Land — averaging 14.5 points as he faced the Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder in his first two games with the Cavaliers — he eventually would find himself little more than a spot-up shooter in Cleveland. He averaged 10.8 points per game with the Cavaliers but more importantly, his usage rate fell from 27.3 percent to 18.3 percent.
That won’t be the case this season, with Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue declaring that Hood would be the team’s second option. Hood appreciates the confidence Lue has shown in him early on, though he’s more concerned about picking up his game than the pecking order.
“It makes me feel good. He believes that and I think all my teammates believe that,” Hood said. “It’s something I’ve proven that I can be, one of the leading scorers on the team and I can put up numbers. That’s not my mission to be the second-leading scorer. But every night I need to be aggressive and where that leads me then that’s where it leads me.”
Hood averaged 4.4 points per game in a forgettable postseason for the Cavs prior to the NBA Finals, falling out of the rotation in the Eastern Conference semifinals with pressure on and off the court. He averaged 12.5 points per game in the 2018 NBA Finals, however, playing aggressively in his two appearances. Those games helped Cleveland regain some of the confidence that they had in him right after he was acquired.
This season, Hood has a chance to “prove people right” and he plans to, saying: “That’s just how I’m wired.”