A wild trade deadline brought out the JR Smith the Cavs need


Before Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors came to its dramatic three-part conclusion with The Block by LeBron James, The Shot by Kyrie Irving and The Stop by Kevin Love, there was The Eight by JR Smith.
With the Cavs coming out of halftime trailing the Warriors by seven points on Golden State's home court, Smith scored eight points on 3-for-3 shooting in the first two minutes and 26 seconds of the third quarter to draw Cleveland within two. It dashed the Dubs' hopes of breaking the game open and sprinting toward the title as they did in the deciding Game 6 of the 2015 Finals. And it cemented Smith's place in Cleveland sports lore as one of the heroes who helped end a 52-year championship drought.
Fast-forward less than two years later, and so much is different for Smith and his teammates.
The most dramatic domino of change was Irving being traded to the Boston Celtics in the offseason, of course, but there have been multiple moves that have totally reshaped the roster since June 2016 to the point where the Cavs are hardly recognizable anymore.
"It's crazy," Smith told ESPN after Cleveland's 121-99 rout of the Celtics on Sunday. "We were on the plane on the way [to Boston] and I just started looking around and only really [four] seats are still the same from when we, like you said, won the championship. ... I just told the guys, 'Man, this is crazy. We really like, got a whole new, a whole new team.' And I looked across and Bron was just shaking his head like, 'Yeah, yeah, but we got a f---ing squad, too.'"
James, Love, Tristan Thompson and Smith -- the four holdovers from the title team -- received a four-man infusion of talent last week when the Cavs acquired George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr.