Houston Rockets: The Case Against Signing JR Smith

JR Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on against the Indiana Pacers (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
JR Smith #5 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on against the Indiana Pacers (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets are reportedly interested in signing free agent JR Smith, but he doesn’t possess the skills the Rockets need at this point.

According to Yahoo Sports’ Shams Charania, the Cavaliers just released JR Smith from their roster, allowing him to become a free agent.

Looking at the current players that are on the roster, the starting lineup would look something similar to this as of today.

PG: Russell Westbrook

SG: James Harden

SF: Danuel House

PF: PJ Tucker

C: Clint Capela

This is a very good starting 5 and should be a 5 that contends for one of the top Western Conference spots. With players coming off of the bench being Austin Rivers, Eric Gordon, Gary Clark, Gerald Green, and Tyson Chandler, there doesn’t seem to be a spot for the likes of JR Smith. While there are many qualities to like about JR Smith (such as being a career 38 percent 3-point shooter who averaged 12.5 points per game), this team has some other needs that need to be addressed.

Perimeter Defense

The Rockets now face a Western Conference that is loaded in the wing position and the lack of size on this current roster doesn’t bode well. JR Smith has never been considered a lockdown defender. While he can catch fire from the 3 point line, this is an area the Rockets need to focus on with their next addition to this team. This team would be best suit for focusing on the likes of Andre Iguodala or Robert Covington, as those players will make a much bigger impact on both ends of the floor.


This Rockets team was one of the worst teams at securing boards. According to NBA.com stats, the Rockets were the 3rd worst team in the league at rebounding. This is something the Rockets are hoping will improve after adding Russell Westbrook, but he is only 6’3 and we could use more size in order to hold on our own down low against bigger teams. Adding yet another guard to the roster that does a lot of the same things that Gerald Green does doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

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JR Smith is still a solid player overall and can still contribute to many teams in this league. Unfortunately, this team needs depth at the forward positions along with different skillsets that JR does not possess to help this team get to the next level. If people are going to question the Russell Westbrook move, then the TV Talking Heads are going to really question the Rockets if they acquire JR Smith.

* https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/s/smithjr01.html