Los Angeles Lakers: 3 wings to target as LeBron James backups

(Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
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3. J.R. Smith

It is questionable whether J.R. Smith is the heat check player he once was. At his best, he could catch fire and give instant offense to his team and get points in a hurry. He was capable of jaw-dropping dunks, stroking it from 3 and at times was a good defender.

That was a couple of years ago. Time goes by extremely quickly and it is quite easy for the NBA to pass you by without knowing it.

However, to rule a player out is to do so at your peril. Case and point the resurgence of Carmelo Anthony who now plays valuable minutes for the Portland Trail Blazers and is still getting it done.

While J.R. Smith is no Carmelo Anthony, it is worth kicking the tires on whether Smith has anything left in the tank to help the Lakers in a deep playoff run.

The Lakers seem to be doing just that according to Marc Stein of the New York Times:

The Lakers are correct to due their due diligence and give a former volume scorer a chance.

If J.R comes to the Lakers in shape, hungry, motivated and willing to play whatever role that is asked of him, then he has a shot of potentially making the roster.

A big IF.

If Smith gives it everything in his last go-around then the Lakers might get a bench scorer capable of allowing LeBron to rest at points throughout the second part of the season.

With Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and J.R. Smith all capable of playing meaningful minutes at both the shooting guard and small forward position, this allows for the Lakers to rest LeBron and have acceptable options at the 2 and 3.

It is going to be very interesting to see what Smith has in the tank. After seeing Melo making a comeback, I’m not going to fully rule out J.R. making the Lakers roster.