J.R. Smith just won the second title of what has been a colorful career for him. The 35-year-old veteran signed with the Los Angeles Lakers prior to the season restart, which was enough to earn him a championship ring. This was his second chip after playing alongside LeBron James with the Cleveland Cavaliers during that memorable championship run in 2016.
Smith recently made an appearance on CBS Sports’ “All Things Covered” podcast with hosts Patrick Patterson and Bryant McFadden, and the discussion eventually landed with Smith having to compare these two title-winning squads. When asked who he thinks would have won in a battle between the ’20 Lakers and the ’16 Cavs, the former Sixth Man of the Year winner had this to say:
“I think the size that the Lakers have, we just didn’t have in Cleveland,” Smith said, via Michael Kaskey-Blomain of CBS Sports. “In Cleveland, we were more grittier, we played a little harder, we were much nastier defensively. But the size with this Lakers team with [Anthony Davis] and Dwight [Howard], and being able to change the lineups with Markieff [Morris], we just weren’t that versatile [in Cleveland]. We could play multiple different ways in L.A., but in Cleveland, we only had to play one way … I think the Lakers team was just too big.”
Smith presents a valid point here. To be fair, the Cavs did have the likes of Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Timofey Mozgov, and Channing Frye in that lineup, but even that group would have struggled against L.A.’s mighty frontcourt.
For his part, Smith’s current deal with the Lakers runs out in the offseason. It remains to be seen if the team will look to re-sign him, or if he’s already outstayed his welcome in Hollywood.