Los Angeles Lakers: 3 reasons Dion Waiters was right choice over J.R. Smith

Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

3. Waiters is younger than Smith

J.R. Smith has been a very good role player throughout the years. Lakers fans may remember him from a couple of playoff battles the Kobe Bryant-era Lakers had with the Denver Nuggets. More recently, he helped the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers reach four straight NBA Finals while winning it all in 2016.

A good 3-point shooter, Smith has always been known as a player who can get hot and shoot you into a win (or shoot you out of one when he’s cold).

But he’s 34 years old. Furthermore, he hasn’t even played an NBA game since the fall of 2018, when the Cavs released him.

One of the strengths of this Los Angeles Lakers team is their mix of young players and veterans. Furthermore, other than Rajon Rondo, who’s also 34, they don’t have any “old” players. LeBron James and Dwight Howard don’t count because they aren’t on the downside of their careers yet.

Also, the Lakers are arguably the best fast-break team in the NBA. With coach Frank Vogel always preaching playing with pace, they don’t have much use for another guy in his mid-30s.

Waiters, on the other hand, is just 28. He’s a young veteran who played half a season with James in 2014-15. The next season, he went deep into the playoffs with the Oklahoma City Thunder, narrowly missing a trip to the championship series when they blew a 3-1 series lead to the Golden State Warriors.

If Waiters does well with the Lakers, maybe he could stick around with the team for a little while longer.