NBA champion and winner of the 30th season of Dancing with the Stars Iman Shumpert is finding great success in life after basketball. After a few good years with the Cleveland Cavaliers alongside LeBron James, Shumpert struggled to find a home in the NBA while dealing with several injuries that derailed and eventually ended his career. Today, Shumpert dabbles in music production, but other than that, he seems to have a penchant for speaking on podcasts and shows.
Shump recently guested on Bootleg Kev’s podcast to talk about music and hoops, among other things. Through his experiences with the Cavaliers, Iman was able to give us a closer look at the dynamic between those powerhouse teams in Cleveland, led by LeBron James. However, it wasn’t all about LeBron and Kyrie, as he heaved some high praise for his friend and running mate, J.R. Smith.
“I don’t know who you think I am bro, but I used to play with you in the video games.”
Iman Shumpert to J.R Smith, Bootleg Kev
When asked about the most underrated player he’s shared the court with, Iman took a pause and confidently aired out the name of his teammate in both New York and Cleveland as the guy. J.R entered the league as an electrifying scorer for the New Orleans Hornets and Denver Nuggets but unfortunately had a negative stigma tagged onto him for what many described as behavioral issues. Smith was an excellent player though, and probably one of the streakiest shooters this league has ever seen.
J.R was the starting shooting guard on the 2016 Cavs that completed the greatest Finals comeback in NBA history, but he was more than just a catch and shoot guy, as he chased Klay Thompson over screens and even initiated the offense when Golden State was able to key in on LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. In the deciding game, J.R was the one keeping the Cavaliers within striking distance, giving the team’s stars enough time to get things going and close out the series in the Warriors’ building.
Smith also has five career games with nine or more three-pointers made, which ranks fifth all-time behind: Klay Thompson (7), Damian Lillard (9), James Harden (9), and Stephen Curry (38). What makes this even more impressive is that J.R has never been the first or second scoring option, and the four players ahead of him in this category are all the main offensive options for their respective teams.
The fact that J.R scored the way he did despite not always having the ball in his hands is truly impressive, and with a guy like “Pipe,” you always have a shot at winning a game once he gets hot.