Los Angeles Lakers: 3 trends from the scrimmage games

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

3. Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith

Dion Waiters only played in three games this season for the Miami Heat. J.R. Smith hadn’t played organized ball in nearly two years.

Fans were hopeful that Dion Waiters would look decent during the Lakers’ scrimmages, and we weren’t even sure that J.R. Smith could run and jump anymore.

Dion Waiters looked like he was five pounds overweight and still not close to game shape, but despite his conditioning problems, he played surprisingly well on both ends of the floor.

J.R. Smith’s play was an even bigger shock. He’s 36-years-old, but he looked like a young and spry player with a pleasant spring to his step during the Lakers three scrimmage games.

Dion Waiters is a black hole on offense. Once he gets the ball in his hands, he rarely gives his teammate even a cursory glance, but the guy can score. If Frank Vogel and LeBron James can ring Waiters in and convince him to play team-oriented basketball while allowing him to remain aggressive when the opportunity arises, the Lakers will be very dangerous during the playoffs.

Once Dion Waiters plays himself into game shape, and if he’s all there mentally, he’s going to make it very difficult for opposing squads to load up on LeBron James and Anthony Davis at the end of games.

When J.R. Smith gets hot from downtown, he can win a game by himself. It’s not clear what role Smith is going to be able to carve out on the Lakers. However, Smith did make it clear during the Lakers’ final scrimmage game against the Wizards that he can still light it up on offense.

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Don’t surprised if the Los Angeles Lakers are struggling offensively during a playoff contest, and Frank Vogel releases J.R. Smith into the game. Also, don’t be surprised if Smith helps bring the Lakers back to life during that contest. It appears that JR Swish still has a little magic left in him.