Rodney Hood is the epitome of a man who has been through a tremendous amount of ups and downs in a single season.
Hood was traded from the Utah Jazz at the trade deadline. He actually started at shooting guard for Game 1 of these playoffs against the Indiana Pacers. The Cavs would lose this game and Hood would entirely lose his role in the rotation.
After refusing to play “garbage minutes” at the end of a Game 4 blowout versus the Raptors, it looked like Hood’s tenure in Cleveland was coming to a rapid end as he will become a free agent this upcoming summer.
Tonight, Hood has a chance at new life with the Cavaliers as coach Tyronn Lue will give him a role off the bench in Game 3 of the NBA Finals.
“We’re going to give Rodney a chance,” Lue said Tuesday. “He’ll get a shot, and see how he does. He’s been working, staying ready. So we’ll see.”
Indeed, we shall see, what Hood could provide for a team in a 0-2 hole in the NBA Finals. The downside is that he has not played meaningful minutes in a basketball game since the first round as the Cavs gave up him early on.
Another problem with Hood playing is that there are no long-standing individual matchups in this series. Thus far, the Cavs have game planned to switch on every screen and Hood has a difficult time staying in front of average ball handlers such as Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.
On the bright side, Hood was a scoring machine in his role with the Jazz. If somehow, someway, he can provide a spark of scoring off the bench, the Cavs could be in a slightly better position.
Look for that 6-foot-8 body to be active on the defensive end of the floor and to attempt to stay with some of the Warriors’ shooters. Look for the Cavs to run him a few plays to try and get open jumpers off of LeBron James’s drives to the basket.
If Hood in the Finals works out, Lue will look like a genius. If he does not work, expect him to be on a short leash.
“I don’t know when it’s going to come or what stage of the game, but just being ready,” Hood said Tuesday. “I’ve been preparing, I’ve been working hard, so if I get the opportunity, just go out there and play. Just have fun.”