1. J.R. Smith simply is not very good anymore
Without mincing words, I think that as an NBA player, J.R. Smith is well below average, and has been for three years now.
In 132 games played between 2016-2019, Smith has the following statistical averages:
- 27.7 MPG
- 8.2 PPG
- 37.9% FG% on 7.8 attempts per game
- 36.2% 3P% on 5.2 attempts per game
- 70.4% FT% on 0.6 attempts per game
Smith’s role on the Los Angeles Lakers wouldn’t be a huge one, as I believe that he was brought on the team as both a floor-spacer and a bench scorer. However, in this large recent sample size, he’s shown an inability to even provide that.
The advanced stats reinforce Smith’s mediocrity in recent times. Over that same three-year period, J.R is the owner of a negative Offensive Box Plus/Minus (-2.0), a negative Defensive Box Plus/Minus (-0.6), and a negative Value Over Replacement Player (-0.6).
His drastic and unceremonious fall from grace occurred over his age 31-33 seasons, which are usually seen as late prime years for the majority of NBA players. Expecting a 34-year-old player who hasn’t played a professional game since November 2018 to play at a level that he hasn’t exhibited since age 30 is ludicrous.
Unfortunately, the likelihood of him being the horrendously bad player he’s been since 2016-17 is far greater than the likelihood that he’ll magically wind back the clock 4 years.