J.R. Smith has been one of the most important pieces to the Cleveland Cavaliers success in recent years, he has stepped up his defense, he has made a bunch of three pointers, and scored in a variety of ways. He has been a treasure for Cleveland since they traded for him, and as the saying goes: one man's trash is another man's treasure.

While J.R. was in New York, he was criticized a lot for his shot selection, lack of defense, supposed stupid plays, and blamed for the poor play of the Knicks. He would often receive technical fouls and flagrant fouls due to his passion on the basketball court, and it would draw a lot of scrutiny.

But when he was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers he became a new man. With the leadership of LeBron James, J.R. turned into a player who shot a high percentage and played great defense. The extra effort to play well was obvious in Smith's play, as the Cavs were focused on doing something special. J.R. turned his career around. So much for being just a throw-in during the trade in 2015.

J.R. Smith takes subtle shot at his ex-team

After a rough few years in New York and a successful few years in Cleveland, J.R. Smith knows all about the joy of playing in a Cavaliers uniform, and he doesn't want to think back to the rougher times in his career.

After the Cavaliers finished off the Pacers in game four and completed the sweep, J.R.

Smith talked to reporters. When asked if he could recall when LeBron James last lost a first round game, J.R. said he couldn't remember. The reporter then reminded him that he was playing in a Knicks jersey against LeBron and the Miami Heat the last time that the King lost a first round game.

Smith didn't want to be reminded of the situation, saying: "Honestly, I try not to remember too much about my New York days, I don't even think about it, honestly." It's obvious that reminiscing about the past for Swish is not something he wants to do.

The Cleveland difference

J.R. Smith went from a solid player in the league that was known more for his antics and poor style of play, to an NBA champion who is credited for his great shooting and defense. LeBron James has mentioned in the past that Smith was just a "throw in" in the trade that sent Iman Shumpert to Cleveland.

This trade turned out to be one of the most impactful trades of the season for the Cavaliers, and ultimately helped set them up for back-to-back finals runs, as they look to make it three straight this year.