NBA Free Agency 2011: Top 5 Destinations for the Denver Nuggets' J.R. Smith
J.R. Smith is one of the most exciting and entertaining players in the world. He can soar through the air for an extremely explosive dunk or sink sweet shots from downtown.
His highlight reel is filled with more high flying than eagles and more throw-downs than all the slam-dunk competitions put together, but his highlights only tell half of the story.
Sure, sometimes J.R. Smith is one of the best players on the court. Dare I say he could be one of the best players in the NBA if he could be more mature and play more consistently overall.
Because at other times, Smith is one of the most frustrating players to watch on the court, and his actions off the hardwood are even more confounding.
J.R. Smith has conflicted with coaches throughout his entire career, with Byron Scott early on and with George Karl for the last five years. Most recently, Smith told the media he will most likely not re-sign with the Nuggets this offseason just after Denver lost to Oklahoma City in Game 2 because he was unhappy with his lack of playing time.
Still, despite all his off-the-court issues and his on-the-court inconsistency, Smith could help many teams with his stellar shooting from distance and his explosive ability to drive to the hoop.
Here's a look at which teams will be giving J.R. Smith a serious look this coming offseason.
New Jersey Nets
The Nets have some strong young talent in Deron Williams and Brook Lopez. J.R. Smith could help form a “small three” with them.
Williams is a good scorer, but it would benefit him to have a deadly three-point shooter to pass to, and J.R. Smith could be that guy.
Smith would also benefit Lopez because teams couldn't collapse defensively into the paint on Lopez all the time, meaning Lopez's numbers should improve.
And if they do double Lopez, the Nets would be able to dish it back outside to J.R.—for a spot-up three ball.
Smith is nowhere the player that Carmelo Anthony is, but he could still definitely help the Nets win some games, and he would be able to start in New Jersey, which is another reason he would be likely to sign there.
Just imagine for a second—J.R. Smith throws the alley-oop to Blake Griffin, no, wait, back to Smith! The double alley-oop!
The Clippers would have arguably the two most explosive alley-oopers in the NBA; it would up the excitement level even more.
Between Griffin, Eric Gordon and Eric Bledsoe, LA is already full of young, athletically-talented players; J.R. Smith would only make LA more explosive, more difficult to defend and more fun to watch for the fans in LA.
The Bulls are already one of the best teams in all of basketball; they won the East in the regular season, and they are extraordinarily talented.
Even without Carlos Boozer for much of the year, Chicago was fortunate enough to have the MVP, Derrick Rose, on the team. Rose has been lights-out phenomenal this season, a clear favorite as MVP of the NBA because he can get to the hoop with his blazing speed, he can shoot well from the mid-range and he drops devastating dimes at times.
Besides Rose and Boozer, Joakim Noah has been spectacular this season as he continues to realize, and even exceed, his potential.
And the Bulls have Kyle Korver, whose tremendous three-point shooting has come in handy as of late. Imagine if they had Smith standing on the other side of the court on the three-point line.
Smith would compete with Keith Bogans as the starting shooting guard on the Bulls, and he would bring an athletic ability at two-guard that could complement Rose or just provide an extra oomph off the bench.
The Heat are good, but they're not great, yet.
They could use another three-point shooter. Why not have another guy who can be explosive to the hole?
Smith would provide depth, and he's already proven throughout his career that he can hit the last-second shot, something else the Heat are lacking at the moment.
Plus, J.R. Smith is a Cash Money Millionaires Athlete, which is based out of Miami, so he can be closer to friend-and-business partner Lil' Wayne.
And really, what NBA player wouldn't want to play with the Big Three in Miami?
New York Knicks
And while Landry Fields is a good, and improving young player, there's no way he's better than Smith.
Smith could finally find himself a starting spot, and he could find some shine in New York with his breathtaking style of play.
Plus, the Knicks have shown they need someone to help carry the scoring load when Amar'e Stoudemire or Chauncey Billups are injured; Smith could be that player.
Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist actively seeking a career in journalism. Along with being the CSU Rams Examiner, Kurtzman is a Denver Nuggets and NBA Featured Columnist for bleacherreport.com, the Colorado/Utah Regional Correspondent for stadiumjourney.com, a weekly contributor to milehighhoops.com and a contributor to milehighreport.com writing on the Denver Broncos.
Rich also heads up PR for K-Biz and Beezy, a Colorado-based rap group.
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