Longtime Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard J.R. Smith has officially joined the Los Angeles Lakers. He’ll be providing them with a veteran presence on the wing spots to flank LeBron James and Anthony Davis. However, the Laker he’s most excited to play for is the late, great Kobe Bryant.
Smith isn’t hiding his excitement to wear the purple and gold and dedicate his play to Bryant’s memory. This sentiment he tweeted out, in response to rapper O’Shea Jackson Jr.
Appreciate it bro! It’s an honor to play in his memory for as long i wear the colors! https://t.co/IeYJZKpfg5
— JR Smith (@TheRealJRSmith) July 8, 2020
The 15-year veteran has had a long career that intertwined plenty of times with Bryant’s. He most famously was part of the Denver Nuggets squad that faced Kobe’s Los Angeles Lakers in the 2009 Western Conference Finals.
During that series, Smith was the Nuggets’ third leading scorer. He was just behind the two players he followed to New York a few years later, Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups.
Smith averaged 12.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.3 assists in that series against Bryant, falling to the eventual champion Lakers in six games.
The Los Angeles Lakers are definitely hoping Smith can provide accurate three-point shooting and hit some timely clutch buckets when the need arises.
History bodes well for this, as Smith has always been a reliable three-point marksman with a career average of 37.3 percent from deep. He has also played in well over 100 playoff games in the past, so he’s definitely not going to be fazed by a deep playoff run with the Lakers.
James will be relying on his former Cavs teammate once again, but LA hopes Smith can keep his head in the game at all times.