Frank Vogel: JR Smith, Dion Waiters Bring ‘Toughness And Swag’ To Lakers
JR Smith
Bill Baptist-NBAE

As the Los Angeles Lakers continue to prepare for the NBA restart, head coach Frank Vogel still must figure out exactly what his playoff rotation will look like. With Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo out -0 and Dion Waiters and JR Smith in — things cannot simply be the same as before the hiatus.

However, Smith and Waiters each bring unique skillsets that may come in handy for the Lakers. Waiters is known for his ability to create his own shot off the dribble. Smith, on the other hand, is an excellent spot-up shooter who can also handle the ball successfully.

On the court, they meet some of the Lakers’ needs. “They both bring toughness and swag. Those guys are killers,” Vogel said of Smith and Waiters. “They go after it with great competitive spirit and they have the talent to back it up and be highly productive on the court. They’ve proven that throughout their careers.

“They’re being asked to come into an already-strong locker room where chemistry has been a strength of ours this year, and to fit in and contribute in a positive way. Every time you introduce a new personality into your group, it can alter your chemistry. Their goal is to come in here and make sure if it’s altered, it’s altered in a positive way.

“So far both those guys have had that mindset and have done a great job fitting in and contributing with a positive attitude.”

On the court, just about everybody knows the value that Smith and Waiters can bring when they’re playing at their best. The big question marks have always come off the court.

Both have had a history of being difficult to coach and have been traded or released at some point due to their negative effect on locker room chemistry. For Vogel to note that they’ve seamlessly transitioned into this roster’s chemistry could mean very positive things for their on-court production.

If the two can fit in both on the court and off, it will significantly increase their minutes and overall importance to the team.

Rob Pelinka predicted seamless transition for Smith and Waiters

Lakers ice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka previously shared his belief that the team’s already-strong chemistry would only be enhances by the additions of Smith and Waiters.

“We’re in a unique situation that we’ve had such a strong team chemistry, that I think that platform is going to be seamless in terms of guys jumping on and being part of that identity and chemistry that we had already formed,” he said.

“I don’t see that changing at all with the new additions, just because it’s such a strong identity.”

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