Why JR Smith is a major X-factor for the Lakers, according to scouts
Smith has not played basketball at all this season and only appeared in 11 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers last year, so expecting a significant contribution from him may be asking too much.
However, some scouts think Smith can help the Lakers. As a matter of fact, one scout thinks Smith fits Los Angeles better than Bradley:
“I actually think (losing Bradley and adding Smith) helps the Lakers,” the scout said, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic. “They need shooting.”
Another scout feels that Smith could be an X-factor for the Lakers, but he doesn’t agree that Smith is an upgrade over Bradley:
“J.R. is a really big (X-factor),” said the second scout. “If you get the J.R. who can hit five 3s in a playoff game, then yeah. But I don’t know what J.R. looks like right now. There are just more unknowns. Kyle Kuzma is really good, but he hasn’t really been through the grinder yet of the playoffs, like a true, deep championship run. … Avery Bradley is a huge loss.”
Smith certainly has playoff experience, as he won a title alongside LeBron James in Cleveland in 2016 and was a key member on the Cavs squad that made four straight Finals appearances from 2015 through 2018.
However, Smith has also been known for making huge mental errors, like in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals when he forgot the score and erroneously alowed time to expire at the end of regulation.
Plus, he has barely played the last couple of years, so it remains to be seen how much gas the 34-year-old has left in the tank and if he’ll make an impact for the Lakers.