The Los Angeles Lakers wrapped up a playoff berth before the NBA season was suspended indefinitely back in March. Additionally, the Lakers will head into the restart with the second-best record in the league at 49-14.
Unfortunately, one of the Los Angeles Lakers’ key players, Avery Bradley, has decided not to travel to Orlando when the season resumes next month. To help fill the void created by Bradley’s absence, the Lakers are working on a deal to sign swingman JR Smith, as reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
On one hand, Smith hasn’t played since the 2018-19 season. And during that season, he appeared in just 11 games. He posted a career-low 6.7 points per contest on just 34.2 percent shooting from the field. The Cavs waived Smith in the summer of 2019. Secondly, Smith doesn’t give the Lakers the same perimeter defensive presence as Avery Bradley.
Fortunately for the Los Angeles Lakers, there is an upside to adding Smith to the mix. For starters, he does possess the ability to be a capable scorer. During the 2012-13 campaign, he averaged 18.1 points per outing en route to winning the Sixth Man of the Year award as a member of the New York Knicks.
Another benefit for the Lakers is the fact that Smith is a decent shooter from behind the arc. In fact, he has shot better than 35 percent from distance in four of the last five seasons. Smith also boasts a career 37.3 percent conversion rate from 3-point range.
With the Lakers bringing Smith into the fold, he will be reunited with former Cavalier teammate LeBron James. The two played four seasons together in Cleveland. During that stretch, the Cavaliers went to the NBA Finals four straight times, winning it all in 2016.
Smith worked out for the Los Angels Lakers back in early March. And he reportedly performed well in those workouts. So when Bradley decided to sit out the rest of the season, Smith was a logical replacement, given his ability to stretch the floor.
Sure, it’s been a bit since Smith has played meaningful basketball. However, every team will have been off for more than four months when the season resumes. With that in mind, the Lakers and Smith can use the eight-game stretch to prepare for what the team hopes will be a deep postseason run.