The Houston Rockets are looking for players to add to the roster, but are essentially capped out and looking for players to add for the minimum. Should one former sharpshooter be an option?
The NBA off-season is at a point where the veteran’s minimum is gold. Most teams, including the Houston Rockets, have already spent the bulk of their cap space and are looking for fairly inexpensive veteran’s to play for the minimum.
The Cleveland Cavaliers just made one more vet available. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Cavaliers have just waived J.R. Smith. Yes, the same J.R. Smith who couldn’t seem to remember the score in the NBA Finals, and the same J.R. Smith who helped the Cleveland Cavaliers win an NBA title. The same Smith that shot 43% from three in that particular post-season. Smith is likely eager to get back on the court, as he only played in 11 games this past season, which was not due to injury. The Cavaliers were re-building after playing in 4 consecutive finals and Smith, who is 33, didn’t quite fit in with a team seeking to re-build.
But Smith is a 37% career shooter from deep and would join a team that plays to his style. In addition, Smith brings championship experience to a Rockets team seeking to get there in the crowded West. The Rockets were reportedly interested in acquiring Smith prior to this past season so it would seem they would be even more interested considering the moves many of the other Western Conference contenders have made.
Sure he doesn’t play much defense these days, but you’re likely not bringing him in to play defense. You’re bringing him in because he can shoot from distance, which is exactly what Mike D’Antoni would encourage him to do. On top of that, he played under D’Antoni, albeit for a short amount of time, during the 2010-2011 season with the Knicks. But Smith has played in 4 of the last 5 NBA Finals and will certainly be willing to do whatever he can to get back there. He would certainly embrace a back-up role, which he has thrived in before and has a Sixth Man of the Year trophy as well. In addition, the Rockets could easily play him 20 minutes a night if need be.
I get there are holes in his game, but would it hurt to bring in a career 12.5 points per game scorer? And what does it matter when he would be playing on the minimum? Besides, what does Anthony Bennett bring to the table that JR Smith can’t?