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The Cavaliers need Iman Shumpert to return to haircut greatness

For four straight games, Iman Shumpert has shown up with garbage haircuts, and he's played terribly. Can the Cavs count on his hair to help them to an NBA championship?

In the middle of the NBA Finals, Iman Shumpert has begun to do bad things to his hair.

For Game 2, Shumpert showed up with his hair drooped over his forehead:

He looked like he'd just used a low pressure shower head. And his bad haircut got roasted:

For Game 3, Shumpert showed up with this on his head:

Photo credit: Bob Richard, USA Today Sports

NBA players have worn man buns before -- Jeremy Lin and Spencer Hawes were the Bun Brothers this year for the Hornets, it was pretty bad -- but I think this is worse than the man bun. It's an additional puff on the top of his head. He looks like Nibbler from Futurama. Surely enough, this too was roasted:

Game 4 saw a fuller, more developed hair bump.

Photo credit: Ken Blaze, USA Today Sports

In Game 5, he kept the look. His head looks a bit like an acorn.

Photo credit: Kelley L. Cox, USA Today Sports

Shumpert has proven his ability to be a consistent player in the past, starting and performing effectively for the Cavs in last year's playoffs. But this year, he's become a bit player who hasn't even been that good in his brief minutes.

But I believe that Shumpert is like a modern-day Samson. He's capable of playing well when he sports a spectacular hairdo. But when he comes out looking like this, he's doomed. In Shumpert's four games since switching to new hairstyles, he's is a combined 5-for-17 from the field, 2-for-9 from three, with one assist and five turnovers. And the turnovers have been bad: He's dribbled the ball off his feet, and forced LeBron James to commit a backcourt violation off a baseline out-of-bounds play.

Let's go back through the years to show how Shumpert's hair prowess is connected to his basketball prowess.

Photo credit: Elsa, Getty Images

In his second NBA season, Shumpert grew this high-top fade, classic yet fresh, unique while serving as a clear homage to legendary haircuts of the past.

And his three-point percentage jumped nearly 100 points, from 30.6 percent his rookie year to 40.2 percent. Only an occasional starter his rookie year, Shumpert started every single game for the best Knicks team in recent history. Coincidence? I think not.

After being traded to the Cavs in the 2014-15 season, his high-top somehow got even more prodigious:

Photo credit: Thearon W. Henderson, Getty Images

Shumpert was meant to be a reserve, but when Kyrie Irving went down, he filled in. In his first game after Irving's injury, Shumpert scored 22 points, and ended up averaging 9.4 points over the course of the playoffs, just a shade off his career-high season average of 9.5 points.

But in the offseason, Shumpert began to switch it up.

Photo credit: Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images

When the 2015-16 season started, Shumpert went back to his trademark look:

Photo credit: Ken Blaze, USA Today Sports

But now at the most pivotal time of the year, his hairdo has strayed from greatness.

Photo credit: Ken Blaze, USA Today Sports

During the regular season, Shumpert averaged 5.8 points per game, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. In the Finals, he's averaged 3.0 points, 1.8 rebounds, and .2 assists, while increasing his turnovers per game. I think it's pretty clearly the hair.

Shumpert can contribute to the Cavaliers. He's a tough perimeter defender who can try dancing with Steph Curry, get a hand in Klay Thompson's face or keep Shaun Livingston from getting in the paint. At the very least, he can save his more important teammates' legs by cranking up the intensity.

But he'll be a detriment as long as he takes the court with a Koosh ball made out of human hair attached to his scalp. If Shumpert returns to hair greatness, the Cavs can rally back and win their long-awaited first NBA championship. If not, well, at least Cleveland fans have gotten used to losing.

* * *

Let's play PIG with Kyrie and Steph

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