Los Angeles Lakers: Dion Waiters vs. JR Smith

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The Case for J.R. Smith

J.R. Smith is, in this case, what we never thought J.R. Smith would be. The “safe” option. He has experience in the playoffs and has experience with LeBron James. At 34 years old, Smith would be one of the oldest players on the entire Lakers’ roster.

Smith has not played in the NBA in quite some time, though. He last played in 2018 as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, before being sent home and subsequently released, months later. This could mean one of two things. He could be rejuvenated and fresh, or a shell of his former self. From what has come out about the workout, it seems to be the former.

Smith has a strong relationship with James, which should ultimately work in his favor. James famously approved the Cavaliers’ trade for Smith and declared responsibility for his erratic behavior. LeBron is known to enjoy playing with his off-the-court friends, so his friendship with Smith should not be an element that is overlooked.

James recently posted about Smith on his Instagram Story:

Smith was quite useful for the Cavs in their run of four straight NBA Finals appearances. Despite his incredible mishap in Game 1 of the 2018 Finals, Smith was an intricate piece of those Cleveland teams. Smith shot over 41 percent from three in the playoffs with the Cavaliers, including 43 percent in 2016 when they won the NBA Championship.

At his best, Smith is a great spot-up shooter and one of the best bad-shot makers of all time. He is also a strong scorer in transition. He would fit well with what the Lakers are trying to do on offense and would give LAL another reliable shooter.

If Smith is still able to play at his peak, the Lakers will heavily consider him. His friendship with LeBron is enough to make that certain. He has the pedigree, the experience and, like Waiters, the ties. Can J.R convince the Lakers to give him the final roster spot?