As reported by Adrian Wojnarowski at 12:05 PM EST, the Lakers and JR Smith are in the final stages of a contract which will make JR a member of the roster for the Lakers in Orlando. This contract has been in the works ever since Avery Bradley opted out of the Orlando bubble for family reasons. JR Smith’s last NBA game was on November 19th, 2018 vs the Detroit Pistons. He played 5 minutes and scored 2 points but this was all after an incident between JR and the assistant coach in the same time zone. In the Insta videos JR has looked ready to go for a while now, and he could 100% fill in the void from Avery Bradley.
Positives: JR is gonna bring pure scoring ability to Orlando, he’s capable of dropping 30-40 points at any given moment. JR has had playoff experience and success alongside LeBron James already. He could help the young guys like Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso and teach them how they can contribute to this championship run. He won’t give you Avery Bradley defense but he isn’t a slouch on defense. The Lakers will be getting a guy who’s capable of creating his own shot or he can be the spot up guy, JR will fit into any role that’s given to him and make it work.
Negatives: They’re not that many negatives for this move by the Lakers. Besides the one play where he lost the Cavs game 1 of the NBA Finals. Hopefully he can do really good and help wipe that stigma off him. JR at times could be a shot chucker or just miss a lot of shots. Consistency is where he needs to improve to help this Laker squad out. If he can average 15 PPG throughout these playoffs I cannot see a scenario where the Lakers don’t re-sign him for next season. Now the Lakers have to decide if they are gonna start Caruso, JR, or Dion Waiters. Now Dion Waiters hasn’t officially played a game as a Laker but played in their G-League before the season got cancelled. Caruso has played well in the role he’s in but a lot of people think he has untapped potential if he can get more minutes. And finally the man of the hour JR Smith, he hasn’t played a game in over 2 years but has been ready for this comeback ever since then and could possibly be the X Factor for the Lakers in the playoffs.