J.R. Smith is easily the most coveted asset on the free-agent market right now, as the sharpshooter is set to make his return to the United States Wednesday after playing in China for the last few months.
There are a plethora of teams looking to acquire the services of the explosive veteran to bolster their respective team's guard play, but one team who has been notably absent from the rumors is the Orlando Magic.
Obviously, the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks are the two frontrunners to sign Smith, as both teams have been verbal about their interest in the shooting guard and possess many of his former NBA teammates, but the exclusion of the Magic is shocking to say the least.
After all, the Orlando Magic are in dire need for a solution to their offensive woes. J.R. Smith could be this solution.
Since the beginning of the season, Magic head coach Stan Van Gundy has only been able to rely on power forward Ryan Anderson, star Dwight Howard and sixth man J.J. Redick for consistent scoring inputs. Besides the aforementioned three, the Orlando Magic roster is composed of very streaky shooters.
The team's scoring average has reflected this problem, as Van Gundy's squad is only putting up 93 points per game—20th in the league.
Sure, the team is still finding ways to win, as they have a fantastic 18-11 record, but there is no doubt that the Orlando Magic need to find an elite scorer to help solve their offensive woes.
J.R. Smith perfectly fits this mold.
Last season with the Denver Nuggets, the 26-year-old veteran averaged 12 points per game in only 24 minutes of action. Plus, Smith possessed a fantastic 39 percent three-point field goal percentage, a quality that would be very valuable on the three-point crazy Orlando Magic.
Besides the scoring, however, there are other benefits in adding Smith.
One perk in making this signing is the extra depth it will provide. On a team full of veterans, including elder statesman Jason Richardson and Jameer Nelson, adding Smith would help lower their minutes in hopes of keeping them fresh for the playoffs. In addition, a bench consisting of Smith, J.J. Redick, Glen Davis and Quentin Richardson would definitely be formidable.
Also, Smith would come at a relatively cheap price, as the marksman's value is projected to be between the veteran's minimum and the mid-level exception. Due to Smith's cheap price tag, the shooting guard would be a low-risk, high-reward player, as he has shown flashes of brilliance in his first seven years in the league.
In fact, Smith was believed to be one of the brightest prospects in the NBA at one point. Despite failing to meet these expectations, Smith can certainly fill it up in a multitude of ways. Not only can he hit from beyond the arc with accuracy, but he can run the pick-and-roll with precision and be an aggressive slasher.
And who knows? Maybe an electric J.R. Smith would be enough to convince Howard to stay in O-Town.
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