J.R. Smith has a well-established reputation: he doesn't get along with coaches, partiesgets in trouble off the court, likes courting women maybe a little too much, and—above all else—​loves to shoot the J. Smith has long had a gunslinger reputation as a prolific shooter and, um, apathetic defender. That's changed this season, though—an objective improvement evidenced by the work he's putting in on defense against third-team All-NBA shooting guard Klay Thompson in the NBA Finals.

One question from Smith's 7-year-old daughter, Demi, last offseason inspired him to change his attitude and play defense this year, according to ESPN. Smith planned to donate some of Demi's old toys. When she pushed back, Smith told her it was a sacrifice she had to make so she could get new toys.

"She looked at me and said, 'Daddy what are you going to sacrifice?' I was like, wow. I had to think about it," Smith said. "What was I sacrificing?"

Smith thought about it for a few days, then started watching film of Tony Allen and other great defenders. Previously, he said he'd only watch highlight reels of scorers like MJ, Allen Iverson, and Kobe Bryant. J.R. had 2.5 defensive wins shares this season, the second-highest total of his career (he had 2.7 with the Knicks in 2012-13) and up from 1.3 last year.

"She didn't even know what she did," Smith said. "I always talked about playing good defense but I never did it. It always turned into if I played well on offense, I felt I did a good job. This year I decided I was going to let how I played defense dictate how I played."

It's a fascinating feature on Smith, a polarizing figure who says he is a changed man. He also thinks his reputation might be different if the Cavs had drafted him back in 2004. Instead, because they thought having two teenagers on the roster (Smith and LeBron James) would be too risky, they went with Oregon's Luke Jackson, who played only two seasons with the Cavs and retired after a short-lived, injury-riddled career.

"I feel like my story would've been different had I had a chance to play with Bron when I was 18," Smith said. "I've thought about it countless times."

In other J.R. news, the 19-year-old fan who claims Smith choked him after refusing to take a photo is asking the judge to move forward with his lawsuit.

The Cavaliers are down 2-1 in the Finals. They'll look to even their series with the Warriors Friday in Cleveland.

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