It has been a disappointing season for the Lakers to say the least. After losing Lamar Odom for what hasn't looked liked anything thus far, the Lakers biggest problem has come from their lack of bench production.
The Lakers are currently on a two-game losing slump and are somehow hanging onto a weak fourth seed in the West with a 14-11 record. Dwight Howard has been acclaimed to be the easy fix at this point, but with the production of first-time All-Star Andrew Bynum, sharpshooter veteran J.R. Smith looks to be the better potential help for this current Lakers team.
If you haven't noticed, the Lakers aren't exactly putting up pretty numbers as a team. Ranked 29th in three-point shooting, 20th in points per game and 29th in bench scoring, the Lakers should be thankful for where they are with their current situation.
But with Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum all playing the way they should be, the Lakers can still say that they have one of the best trios in the NBA, despite their lack of help from role players. This is why the Lakers need to go after not only a viable role player before the trade deadline, but a veteran sharpshooter, and this is where J.R. Smith comes in.
In a recent article posted by Gil Alcaraz IV of Yahoo! Sports, Alcaraz discussed the possibility that the Lakers are among the short list of teams that former Denver guard, J.R. Smith was interested in. This has to come off as great news for the struggling Lakers team, and if luck serves them right (as it usually does), then we will see Smith in a purple and gold uniform in no time.
Now, about Howard coming to the Lakers. Yes, it sounds great and dandy, but do you truly believe that Howard coming to the Lakers would serve them better than if Smith or Deron Williams ended up coming, or are we all prisoners of the moment, trying to see something that isn't really there?
Is J.R. Smith a better fit for the Lakers than Dwight Howard?
Bynum is putting up All-Star caliber numbers and as of now is the second best center behind Howard in the NBA, so swapping players wouldn't fix the Lakers biggest problems which are bench production and the lack of point guard play.
After sitting back and analyzing all of the possible scenarios for the Lakers to achieve in these coming months, ranging from Howard, Williams or both coming to the Lakers to possibly acquiring Ramon Sessions from the Cleveland Cavaliers in a possible trade, Smith still looks to be the most realistic and productive move that the Lakers could make at this point in the season.
With the one pleasant surprise of rookie Andrew Goudelock, a.k.a. "Mini Mamba," the Lakers are more in dire need of a knock-down shooter, which is something they have lacked for who knows how long.
The best case scenario for this Lakers team will be to acquire Smith for a short-term, minimal cost deal (after the Chinese league is over), wait for Steve Blake to come back from injury, and simply stay healthy.
If the Lakers can manage to do this in the coming months and for the rest of the season, the crumbling Western Conference is still in reach for this aging Lakers team. Smith, it's time for you to see Hollywood up close and personal.