2011 NBA Free Agency: Should Nets Chase J.R. Smith?
Over the next six weeks, Brooklyn Bound will be taking a look at fifteen potential free agent signees and fifteen Draft targets for the Nets
Why we want him: Smith is one of, if not the, most explosive scorer in the NBA. He has a fast trigger, and can pull up from beyond the three-point arc or drive to the hoop and throw it down. Smith is a great three point shooter, as he is a 39% three point shooter. Not known as a great rebounder, he averaged over four rebounds a game last season, which is a large improvement from his 2.8 career average. Smith is not a slouch on defense either, with a 105.7 defensive rating. His large frame and quickness for a shooting guard (6'6) allows him to take on bigger guards, and he is big enough that he can play small forward. Smith was able to average 12.3 points per game in only twenty four minutes each game. Denver was a very crowded place at the two and three positions towards the end of the year, and he was still able to manage to get solid minutes. Smith is only 25, so he has many years left in the league and would be able to play at a high level through a long-term contract.
Why we don't: Smith is mentally insane. He is known as a locker room cancer, and a pain to coach. Smith is certainly not known as one of the "good guys" of the NBA, and this can mainly be attributed to being involved in a 2007 car accident that resulted in a death. Smith's strength on the court, his fast trigger, can easily become his biggest weakness. He never stops shooting whether he is hot or cold, and The Nets do not have the depth to hide him on the bench when he’s cold like the Nuggets did. This lack of care for his teammates can become a huge problem. He may also be a member of the bloods.
Final Verdict: J.R. Smith as the talent to be a very good basketball player. This is not a revelation in anyway, but The Nets should not sign him if he is not committed to winning, meaning he can't repeatedly shoot 27 foot threes. Additionally, Prokhorov and Bill King will have to see if Smith will clean up his act, as thugs will not sell tickets in Brooklyn. If the organization feels like Smith can calm down a bit and become a team basketball player, I'm all for him being a staple on this team. Coupled with Anthony Morrow, the Nets would be able to spread the floor better than any team in the NBA.
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