J.R. Smith argues Cavs have best bench in the league

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports / Action Images

Former Sixth Man of the Year award winner J.R. Smith argues that he's part of the best bench in the league.

Smith, who now serves as a second unit gunner with the Cleveland Cavaliers, praised his team's bench, which includes several accomplished role players such as Tristan Thompson and Kyle Korver.

"It's two games in, but me having the full confidence in my teammates, I think we got the best bench in the league," Smith said to ESPN's Dave McMenamin.

"I mean, you can go around from six through 12 or whatever and mark it up against anybody else's bench, and by far, we got the best bench. And we have more experience too."

"With myself, Tristan, Jeff and whoever else comes off the bench -- I mean Kyle, obviously, shooting the s--- out of the ball tonight -- our bench is tremendous," Smith continued.

Cleveland, with its league-leading $140-million payroll, has an embarrassment of riches waiting in reserve. Thompson, Smith, and Korver could easily start on other teams, while names like Iman Shumpert, Channing Frye, Jeff Green, and Derrick Rose have been solid rotation pieces throughout their entire careers.

"We got a lot of starters that come off the bench on our team," Smith noted. "That's extremely valuable for us. I mean ... in the Finals, I think that's how Golden State's bench scoring was. And then when I.T. (Thomas returns from a hip injury), however we decide to shake it up, the bench is only going to be stronger. So, it definitely helps us."

Granted, it remains to be seen if the Cavaliers' second unit can function successfully as the sum of its parts. Teams such as San Antonio, Golden State, Houston, Utah, and Toronto also project as deep teams with a history of success.