Rodney Hood has noticeably struggled on both ends of the floor since being moved to the Cleveland Cavaliers before the February trade deadline. His performance declined in the playoffs where he is only averaging 4.4 points on 41.8 percent from the field and 15 percent from beyond the arc. However, those numbers shouldn’t be fully blamed for his failure to adjust to the Cavaliers’ system.
In his postseason debut with the Cavaliers, Rodney Hood is only averaging 13.8 minutes per game. To make things harder for the veteran shooting guard, he only played seven minutes in the Cavaliers’ last seven playoff games. According to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Hood admitted that he is losing confidence with his lack of playing time in Cleveland. He also said that the pressure is very different when he plays alongside the best player on the planet since the expectations were too high.
“This is something different. It has been tough. The basketball stuff has been the easiest part. The stuff that comes out of it, you lose a game and everyone talks about it on TV the next day. They may say some things that you may not agree with. If you win a game, you’re supposed to.”
Coach Tyronn Lue believes Rodney Hood is still building his confidence, and in order to help him regain his rhythm, the Cavaliers should give him the opportunity to play in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. With J.R. Smith and Jordan Clarkson, who are both playing as shooting guards, struggling in the first two games of their matchup against the Golden State Warriors, it makes more sense for Lue to give Hood a chance.
Smith may have been an effective perimeter defender, but only averaging 26.3 shooting from the field while playing more than 30 minutes per game won’t help the Cavaliers beat the Warriors in a best-of-seven series. It’s also worth noting that Smith was the one being blamed why the Cavaliers failed to draw first blood in Game 1.
Meanwhile, Jordan Clarkson has recently earned plenty of criticisms for his first performance in the first two games of the NBA Finals. Despite his low shooting percentage, Clarkson remained aggressive on the offensive ends of the floor, hitting only 2-of-9 in Game 1 and 1-of-4 in Game 2.
Giving Rodney Hood more playing time instead of J.R. Smith and Jordan Clarkson could be more beneficial for the Cavaliers. Hood only needs one strong performance to build his confidence and become more useful for the Cavaliers. Though it remains unclear if Coach Tyronn Lue will use him in Game 3, Hood plans on seizing the opportunity whenever he sets foot on the court.