After a 24-58 season, the New Jersey Nets will have to make some changes heading into 2012. This week, Nets are Scorching takes a closer look at some soon-to-be-available names.
Stats: 79 G, 6 GS, 24.9 MPG, 12.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG, .435 FG%, .390 FG%, .738 FT%, 109 ORtg, 16.4 PER
Why Billy King Should Be Texting Him Now: J.R. Smith can absolutely score on anyone. He can knock down 29-footers with two hands in his face. He’s athletic and can dunk on nearly anyone. He can take you off the dribble or pull up. His per-game numbers say mediocrity, but his vast array of ridiculous shots and dunks argue otherwise. On top of that, Smith is a Jersey boy, and even if only for a year this would be a nice welcome home for him. With a dearth of legitimate, multifaceted scorers on this roster, Smith is the type of guy that would fill a serious role on this team when focused. I honestly believe that when he is, he can play like a top-10 scorer in this league.
Don’t Risk The Fine: Whenever you have to qualify a player’s good quality with “when this guy is focused…”
J.R. Smith is crazy. Like a hot steaming bowl of crazy. I honestly think he’s the only player in the NBA who could be the best scorer on a contender or a bottom-feeder, depending on what kind of year he’s having. That speaks more to his inconsistency and regimen than his ability. Just look at the picture; Smith is just launching. That’s what he does. Launch. Besides, outside of scoring inconsistently, there’s not much Smith really does. He’s not a phenomenal team player. He’d clash with Avery Johnson and Deron Williams. He’s one of the worst perimeter defenders in the NBA. The only thing he’d bring that Anthony Morrow doesn’t is dunks and bad shots.
And the Winner Is… Avoid: Look, I love J.R. Smith. I do. I freely admit that. I love players that don’t give an eff and will knock down shots with four hands in their face. I think the last two minutes of a game become intensified by 11 billion when he’s in the game, because he could effect the game as much as a nine-point swing by himself in a matter of seconds. He’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch. Really, he’s the opposite of Stephen Graham and Quinton Ross: while Graham and Ross are about as interesting as a whole wheat breakfast, no matter where Smith ends up, something will happen. I just don’t think that “something” is what the Nets need to surround Deron Williams with; they need consistent, good players first, guys who would understand their role and place on the franchise. I don’t think J.R. Smith can be one of those guys.