By now you’ve heard that malcontent and uber-dickwad J.R. Smith has been placed on the trading block by the potentially rebuilding Denver Nuggets. I can’t really say I was shocked – Smith is a pretty nice talent, but his immaturity has rivaled that of a 14 year old on a sugar rush.
I personally dislike Smith quite a bit. Nothing shoots fire through my nuts more than watching him drain about six trey’s in a row, then run back up the court flashing fancy mathematical equations with his newly tattooed fingers.
With that said though, to say Smith doesn’t fill a seriousness basketball need for the Kings would be a lie.
Smith is one of the better gunners in the NBA, something the Kings desperately need. Shooting wise, he had a bit of a down season from his career numbers in 2009-2010, only shooting 33.8% from the arc (compared to 39.7 and 40.3 the previous two seasons). I certainly have no questions or qualms about his talent. It’s there. It’s been proven. The problem for Smith is all mental.
The Kings have a wonderful track record of bringing in questionable attitude players and converting them, or at worst, keeping their headcase moments to a minimum. Could they do the same with J.R. Smith? It’s a tough call.
Without much veteran leadership on the team, a proven NBA hothead could easily damage any potential chemistry the Kings might have – something that no player is worth the risk of. But in Smith’s (and the Kings) favor, he’s only signed for this season at a very reasonable 6+ million dollars. Is it a risk worth taking, if you’re the Kings?
Adding Smith from a basketball standpoint is a clear win. If Smith had the personality of Shane Battier, he wouldn’t even be on the trade block. But alas, he doesn’t – so he and the Nuggets sit and wait for a team to take the plunge.
Everything about J.R. Smith tells me to stay away. Everything. He’s childish. At times, he can go into chucker mode. He’s far from special on the defensive end. But he’s a 24 year old proven commodity that has a career 37% from the 3-point line.
If the price is right (and it could be, considering the Kings have available cap room and some second rounders to dangle – let’s be honest here Denver, you’re not getting Carl Landry or Jason Thompson for him…) it’s hard to pass him up on a one year trial run. Worst case scenario, the Kings part with the childish Smith and lose very little. Best case, they find a young needed part at an extremely cheap rate.
I’m somebody who values a locker room chemistry – but I think it’s more about fitting in with the guys and becoming a cohesive unit than being a player who does all the right things. Sure, you’d like that as well – but I have no problems saying I’d rather have a guy like J.R. Smith in the Kings locker room than an Andres Nocioni, who was clearly out of place, unhappy, and in my opinion leaked nonsense about Evans and company to the media.
So, oddly enough – and I can’t believe I’m saying this as I know it wont be the popular opinion – sign me up for J.R. Smith, if the price is right…