Why Carmelo Anthony & JR Smith Can HELP The Lakers After The Anthony Davis Trade (Ft. NBA & LeBron)
After the Anthony Davis Trade, the Lakers are looking at Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith in the NBA Free Agency. They can actually help the Lakers, and this is why. #NBA #Lakers #Melo
Check out my Twitch- www.twitch.tv/mjallday2k
The Lakers have freed up cap space for a max free agent, but even then they are gonna need guys who would be willing to sign for the veteran minimum and two names have popped up. Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith. But both of them can actually help LeBron, Anthony Davis, and Kuzma and the Lakers win a championship. So let’s break that down.
Let’s start with Carmelo. I know it seems like Carmelo hasn’t played basketball in forever, but he did play 10 games with the Rockets just last season in 2018, averaging 13.4 points and 5.4 rebounds a game shooting 41% from the field and 33% from 3 along with 68% from the free throw line in 29.4 minutes a game. Those numbers scream inefficiency. You must be thinking, it’s crazy to think that Melo could help, but keep in mind that Melo was on a new team with the Rockets with teammates that he had never been with in a system that is radical and completely new. Not being great in 10 games isn’t the best way to analyze what Melo was. Instead I think it’s important to look at something that I haven’t seen Carmelo do his whole career, and that is adjust his game. We saw that in Denver and on the Knicks when he was the main man and a little bit of that in OKC. He came off the bench instead of being stubborn to start. That doesn’t mean he can’t give you some points off the bench as a role player. Will Melo be that guy we saw in New York? No, it’s crazy to expect that, but we saw that Melo was willing to adjust his game and recognize he isn’t that star player anymore.
JR Smith is much easier to breakdown in terms of basketball skill because he’s a streaky shooter than can give you defensive effort and some 3 point shooting. Like Carmelo, J.R. only played 11 games in the 2018-19 season but instead of looking at what he did in 11 games with LeBron, let’s look at his body of work with LeBron. In his time with the Cavs, J.R. has averaged 10.5 points shooting 38% from 3. With JR, you’re getting a competent knockdown shooter that when hot, could light the place up, make contested shot after contested shot. We have seen it throughout his time with LeBron that JR takes the shot at the end of the shot clock and just makes some crazy shot. I think what isn’t talked about enough is JR’s defense. When JR is matched up with opposing star players, he does an amazing job at making it tough. He has gone against Paul George and DeMar Derozan as the primary defender on them in the playoffs. \He gets caught ball-looking instead of staying with his man. JR on the Cavs was the 4th option, behind LeBron, Irving, and Love and didn’t get in the way of that. That 2015-2016 Cavs was one of the best teams in NBA history, we forget how dominant that Cavs team was because how historically dominant the Warriors were and JR Smith added on to their dominance at times, but didn’t ever take away from it.
The main thing to understand is that these two aren’t getting huge roles like they would have in their primes. They are coming to be 5th or 6th options, come off the bench and hold it down when the stars go to the bench. Now LeBron and AD will probably have staggered rotations meaning there will be at least one star on the floor at all times. Don’t forget about Kuzma. He can also get hot in a hurry, but has shown that he can consistently give you 15 points. Like I have said in my video about 5 free agents the Lakers should sign with their $24 million dollar cap space, LeBron and AD most need 3 and D guys, 1 more playmaker for when Bron goes to the bench, and maybe some X-factors. Carmelo and JR Smith are no longer those players they once were, but they can act as floor spacers. Carmelo has shown willingness to defer to the star on the floor and without the star, try to step up into offense. JR will be the floor spacer at the 2, but as a guy coming off the bench, he can also defend star guards. That’s exactly why Carmelo and JR are valuable, because they aren’t relied on to do anything offensively and their floor is enough to not take anything away from what the Lakers would be. These two aren’t even using up the cap space, they are literally veteran minimums. Because LeBron and AD will draw in a lot of defense, Melo and JR will get good looks. So do I think Melo and JR can help the Lakers? Absolutely and if you’re getting them for veteran minimums, the downside is that you’re getting two guys who can’t buy a shot, but that’s most veteran minimums. The upside? They could lead the second unit and for a few nights maybe even 3 or 4 games in the playoffs, just get on fire. But what do you think? Should the Lakers sign another max free agent? What about Carmelo and JR?