Now that the Los Angeles Lakers have officially signed JR Smith to replace Avery Bradley for the 2019-20 NBA season restart, there is plenty of speculation regarding how the new rotation will play out.
Bradley had carved an integral role for himself as the starter in the backcourt alongside Danny Green. His absence leaves the Lakers with quite a void to fill for the eight regular-season seeding games and playoffs at the Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
Fortunately, Smith did his part by staying busy all season while waiting for an opportunity, and his efforts have been rewarded with a spot on a purple and gold team that is pegged to win the title. It seems he has already managed to make a solid impression on his new teammates.
Green said on his “Inside The Green Room” podcast that Smith appears to be in elite form from the workouts he has seen:
“He looks good. When I have seen it, he’s shot the ball well. He looks in pretty good shape. So we’ll see where it goes. I don’t make those decisions, it’s above my head, it’s above my pay grade. But the times that I have seen him work out, and the times I’ve seen him in the gym, he looked like he was in good shape and he looked pretty crisp. So we’ll see what our roster looks like, man. But whoever it is, I have good faith in us. I have faith we’ll still get it done when you have guys like LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading us, and we have a good, solid group behind them. So we’re gonna push through and figure out how to make it work.”
Although it is encouraging to see that Smith has done what he can to stay in playing shape amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there may still be a transition period for him to get acclimated with the system.
After all, Green’s comments indicate that even he is still unaware of how the new rotation will formulate around the pairing of LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
There is no question that Smith’s skill set as a two-way player and familiarity with playing alongside James helped solidify the Lakers’ decision to bring him aboard for the trip to the bubble. Meanwhile, Green has also embraced the prospect of taking on an increased role on the defensive end in Bradley’s absence.
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