Lakers J.R. Smith names surprising Rockets player as hardest to guard

JR Smith #21 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images)
JR Smith #21 of the Los Angeles Lakers (Photo by Kim Klement-Pool/Getty Images) /

Los Angeles Lakers guard J.R. Smith named an interesting Houston Rockets player when naming the most unguardable players in NBA history.

Los Angeles Lakers reserve J.R. Smith knows a thing or two about the Houston Rockets, to say the least. Smith has faced off against the Rockets 40 times during his 16-year playing career, which certainly makes him more than qualified to provide educated opinions on the team.

During that time, Smith has faced off against a plethora of Rockets All-Star players, including Yao Ming, Tracy McGrady, Dwight Howard, and current Rockets guards James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

Smith has witnessed several stellar Rockets performances, and especially from Tracy McGrady. Smith was a firsthand witness to a 35-point performance from McGrady, a 38-point performance from McGrady, and even a triple-double from the Hall of Famer.

Smith has seen even more impressive performances from James Harden, including eleven 30-point games, which entails a 38-point triple-double and a 35-point triple-double from The Beard.

Smith also saw Harden score 41 points on 78.4 percent true shooting, while also dishing out 15 assists in the same game. But in spite of the 2017 NBA champion having seen such great games from current and future Hall of Fame Rockets players, he went in a different direction upon stating who he thinks the most unguardable players in NBA history are.

During Smith’s last appearance on the Knuckleheads podcast, he cited his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving and former Houston Rockets guard Cuttino Mobley as the most difficult players to defend of all-time.

Smith names surprising Houston Rockets player as toughest to defend

“Other than crazy athletic dunking ability, as far as finishing at the rim, [Kyrie] and Cuttino are the toughest people to guard ever.  Like what are you going to do? I remember when I played Cuttino the first year, I was like ‘man this dude is giving me the blues’.”

Mobley starred in Houston for six seasons, posting an average of 17.1 points per game throughout his Rockets career. Mobley went from a second-round draft pick to one of the league’s best 3-point shooters, and one of the best shooters in Rockets franchise history.

To add color to that, Mobley currently ranks fifth in franchise history in 3-point field goals, and 93rd in NBA history in the same department. Mobley finished the 2001-02 season with the 10th most threes in the league on 39.5 percent from deep, while averaging 21.7 points per game, which was a Rockets’ best.

The Rhode Island alum finished the 2003-04 season with the sixth-most threes, on 39 percent yet again, while averaging 15.8 points during his final season with the Houston Rockets. Mobley didn’t get his due credit throughout his career, as he missed the postseason in seven of his 11 years in the league.

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But his offensive brilliance got noticed around the league, as Smith’s mention provides proof.