The Cavaliers are far and away the best team in the Eastern Conference, a model for what the Charlotte Hornets want to be going forward. The Cavs made some big deals in midseason last year to shore up the scoring, bringing in J.R. Smith — who LeBron James likes a lot — from New York. Smith is a big piece of the Cleveland offensive arsenal, though his name gets lost in all the Big Three talk (James, Irving, Love). But for all his scoring prowess J.R. Smith’s stats look just like Jeremy Lin’s stats heading into their Wednesday night matchup — except where Lin’s are stronger. (It’s yet another signal that Lin will be coveted by contending teams — even before the trade deadline this year?) Lin also has double Smith’s assists and more rebounds per game in fewer minutes.
Lin is averaging 12.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists. 0.7 steals in 27.3 mpg. Smith is averaging 12.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists. 1.1 steals in 30.2 mpg. The Hornets host the Cavaliers at 7pm ET on Wednesday February 3.