The newest addition to the Los Angeles Lakers roster in the Orlando bubble is veteran guard JR Smith. With Avery Bradley choosing to not join the team due to health concerns with his son, the Lakers turned to Smith, who has championship experience alongside LeBron James, and is familiar to the Lakers staff that worked him out earlier this year.
The Lakers have been a very close team this entire season and they’re chemistry has been a big part of why they have been so successful. Adding Smith into the fold after a long delay in play, in the place of a starter such as Bradley, is a difficult thing to deal with.
But so far Smith is fitting in with the Lakers, both on and off the court. Alex Caruso has spent some time with Smith since the team has been in Orlando. “He seems very joyful. We’ve had a good couple first days of practice,” Caruso said.
“Everything I’ve heard from his former teammates and coaches is positive, that he’s a great teammate, goofy dude that just likes to be one of the guys. I got to hang out with him a little bit off the court. We went to play golf; me, him and Mike Penberthy.
“It was good to just kind of connect. He’s a really good golfer, so it was a lot of fun to see him in action. He’s been a great teammate and bringing a lot of energy and joy.”
It is undoubtedly great to see Smith fitting in with the Lakers so far. On top of Smith being familiar with some players, like Caruso pointed out, both LeBron and assistant Phil Handy are have prior experience with Smith as well, so he isn’t a complete stranger.
With Rajon Rondo out due to a broken thumb, both Smith and Caruso are set to play bigger roles for the Lakers at the outset of this season restart so the chemistry they are building now could come into play once the games finally begin.
Frank Vogel curious to see Smith, Dion Waiters play with Lakers
With two of the Lakers’ rotation guards now out, head coach Frank Vogel will have to experiment with some different lineup combinations and see what works. Two players who will be watched closely are the two who have yet to suit up for the team in Smith and Dion Waiters.
“I’m really curious to see how they look in our practices and scrimmages when we get to play some of the seeding games,” Vogel said. “Obviously, I know their games very well from having competed against them over the years. But for those two guys, just having have an opportunity to see what they look like in our system is something I’m interested in.”
With Smith, Waiters, Caruso, Quinn Cook and rookie Talen Horton-Tucker, Vogel has numerous options at his disposal once the games begin and all will surely have their opportunity to show what they can bring to the table.
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