The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to add one more key piece to their puzzle. The question is, will it be Dion Waiters or J.R. Smith whom the franchise ends up signing?
“Lakers have completed workout with free agent Dion Waiters and he had an impressive showing, sources tell
The Athletic. Next portion of Waiters’ visit to the Lakers: Meeting with Frank Vogel, Rob Pelinka and Kurt Rambis.”
Tania Ganuli of The Los Angeles Times also confirms that Smith worked out for Los Angeles on Monday morning.
“Was told in addition to Dion Waiters, JR Smith worked out for the Lakers today. His familiarity w/ LeBron and his shooting ability are seen as pluses. The Lakers are in no rush, though, and might bring in others. They have one vacant roster spot after waiving Troy Daniels.”
Waiters’ Advantages Over Smith
Both players have certain traits that are better than the other. For example, Waiters is six years younger than Smith and has seen more recent in-game action that his fellow veteran. Although Waiters has been limited to just three games this season, he’s been in regular playing shape as he’s practiced with the Miami Heat this season. Furthermore, Waiters also played 44 games and started 28 of them last season.
In contrast, Smith hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since November of 2018 with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although Smith wasn’t injured, the Cavaliers kept Smith inactive for the remainder of the regular season. The reason being is that they were trying to find a trade suitor; except they failed to find one. So not only has Smith not played in an actual NBA game in well over a year, he hasn’t even been in a team’s training camp this season.
Smith’s Advantages Over Waiters
While Waiters has that advantage over Smith, the older swingman has one key advantage over the former — and that’s his experience with LeBron James. Although Waiters did have a “cup of tea” with LeBron during the 2014-15 season in Cleveland, it was clear that he didn’t jell at all with the four-time MVP. In fact, he posted the worst efficiency of his career alongside James. In 33 games, he converted on just 40.4 percent of his field goal attempts and 25.6 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, Smith may have had a major gaffe with LBJ during Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals, but they still had tremendous success together. In fact, the Cavaliers won a title and went to four straight Finals with the duo.
Although Smith has been out of work for longer than Waiters, the fact that he has jelled with James and is a better 3-point shooter is a major selling point.
There should be no doubt about this one — the Lakers should sign Smith over Waiters.