When LeBron James left Cleveland Cavaliers over the summer to join the Los Angeles Lakers, the Cavs announced that they still expect to make the playoffs and be a good basketball team. But things look different after their first 15 games in the NBA since the Cavaliers are the worst team in the NBA at the moment with a 2-13 record. According to their guard JR Smith, this was the plan all along.
“I don’t think the goal is to win. The goal isn’t to go out there and try to get as many wins as you can,” – Smith told The Athletic after the 102-113 loss to Detroit Pistons on Monday night. “I think the goal is to develop and lose to get lottery picks. I think that was always the plan.”
Cavaliers gave the impression that they will chase the playoff spot when they resigned their All-Star forward Kevin Love to four-year, $120 million, extension. But Love managed to play only four games before going down with an injury, which caused Cavs to go on a losing streak. In order to shake thing up, the organization fired coach Tyronn Lue. This didn’t lead to better results, and the team started giving more chance to their younger players while veterans like JR Smith saw their playing time being cut down.
Smith is playing only 20.2 minutes per game this season, averaging career-low 6.7 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.
This caused Smith to publicly say that he wants to be traded in the past. The33-year-old repeated on Monday that he doesn’t want to be a part of the Cleveland Cavaliers if the team intends to “tank” this season.
“Not if the goal isn’t to compete, to win,” – he said according to The Athletic.