It seems more and more likely that JR Smith won’t be a Denver Nuggets next season. So the question is where and who will he play for
next season when the NBA Lockout is lifted?
Many fans believe he would be the missing piece for Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls, others think he could join the Boston Celtics where Doc Rivers has an ability to limit the craziness in players. However, for Smith to really show his true talent and live up to his potential he needs to play for a team that will live with the good and bad JR and not one that would put him on a short lease, as teams like the Bulls and the Celtics would do. On both teams he would have a similar role as in Denver, where he could easily be benched due to his erratic behavior or receive playing time when he gets hot. That’s the price players pay for playing for Old School head coaches.
For Smith to get starters minutes, as many fans are hoping, he would have join one of the up and coming teams:
The Hawks rode their sixth man, Jamal Crawford, for much of the playoffs. However, it doesn’t seem likely that Atlanta has the money to resign Crawford and will have to let him walk. Smith is a younger, more erratic version of Crawford, but he is also much cheaper than Crawford and has the potential to provide a similar spark off the bench. However, Atlanta would need Smith or Joe Johnson to spend time at the point guard.
Smith is arguably the most talented player in the NBA, he just lacks the mentality that made Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant so great. It might help if Smith has a chance to work with Jordan, especially in Charlotte – where Smith was planning on going for college.
If there was a perfect fit for Smith, it would be a Timberwolves team that was coached by Don Nelson. Nelson is the anti-George Karl. Unlike Karl, who doesn’t give his players enough freedom, Nelson gives his players too much freedom and at times it comes back to haunt his squads.
However, Nelson is the perfect coach for Smith – especially after Karl. Smith wants a chance to shine and Nelson has shown an ability to get the most out of his players, just see Anthony Morrow, Reggie Williams, Anthony Tolliver and even Monta Ellis. Ellis especially is comparable to Smith, and the Timberwolves needs a shooting guard. They are loaded in the frontcourt, where they have Kevin Love, Derrick Williams, Anthony Randolph and Wesley Johnson. They also have a flashy new point guard in Ricky Rubio, all they are missing is a sharp-shooting shooting guard. Does it mean Minnesota will be the next Oklahoma City Thunder? Maybe, but at least it would give Smith a chance to show what he could do.
Smith is a New Jersey native, and like the Timberwolves the Nets are trying to turn the corner. They added All-Star point guard Deron Williams last season and have a talented young big man in Brook Lopez. Smith would be an additional piece to New Jersey’s up and coming squad. He would give Williams another weapon and Nets fans another thing to cheer for. However, he’d also play for a hard-ass coach in Avery Johnson.
Could Smith really return to the Hornets? Maybe, they have a new coach, still have Chris Paul and lets not forget that he was a fan favorite when he played there.
Paul is threatening to leave New Orleans, and Smith may be the thing that keeps him with the Hornets. Not to mention last season they dealt their bench spark, Marcus Thornton, and have missed that role since he has left.
Linas Kleiza, Reggie Evans and Sonny Weems are all former Denver Nuggets who are playing for the Raptors. Weems especially has been friends with Smith. The Raptors have a young talented core led by Weems, Kleiza, Andrea Bargnani and DeMar DeRozan. The Raptors are an up and down team that is shown nightly on SportsCenter. Lets just say Smith and the Raptors would be an exciting team that may still struggle to get wins. But they would be fun to watch.
Tags: Andrea Bargnani Anthony Morrow Anthony Randolph Anthony Tolliver Atlanta Hawaks Avery Johnson Boston Celtics Brook Lopez Charlotte Bobcats Chicago Bulls Chris Paul DeMar DeRozan Denver Nuggets Deron Williams Derrick Rose Derrick Williams Don Nelson George Karl J.R. Smith Jamal Crawford Joe Johnosn Joe Johnson JR Smith Kevin Love Kobe Bryant Linas Kleiza Marcus Thornton Michael Jordan Minnesota Timberwolves Monta Ellis New Jersey Nets New Orleans Hornets Oklahoma City Thunder Reggie Evans Reggie Williams Ricky Rubio Sonny Weems Wesley Johnson