After playing in only 11 games last season with a diminished role, the Cleveland Cavs waived disgruntled shooting guard JR Smith. Contrary to rumors, Smith did not get in trouble for weed or other drugs. Smith thinks he’s not washed up and met with the Milwaukee Bucks to discuss a potential role with the former NBA Sixth Man of the Year.
Smith, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard, played 15 seasons with the New Orleans Hornets, Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks, and Cleveland Cavaliers. He averaged 12.6 points over his career.
Smith is currently #13 all-time in three-point shots made with 1,929. He’s only 100 treys away from moving into the Top 10 all-time.
WHO IS JR SMITH?
Hometown: Lakewood, New Jersey
Position: Shooting Guard
Draft: 18th Overall 2004 by Hornets
Career Stats: 12.6 ppg
Teams: Hornets, Nuggets, Knicks, Cavs
The Hornets drafted Smith out of St. Benedict’s Prep in Newark, New Jersey with the 18th pick in the 2004 NBA Draft. Smith became one of the last batch of players who skipped college and entered the NBA directly before the one-and-done era.
Smith is an excellent shooter but super streaky. When Smith is hot, he’s unstoppable and among the greatest in the game. However, when Smith is cold, he’s really frigid and it affects the rest of his game.
NOLA > Chicago > Denver
Smith started 56 games as a rookie in New Orleans. He averaged 10.3 points per game but he didn’t mesh with head coach Byron Scott, who criticized Smith’s poor practice habits.
In the summer of 2006, the Hornets traded PS Brown and Smith to the Chicago Bulls for Tyson Chandler. Smith did not play a single game with the Bulls before they dealt him to the Denver Nuggets for Howard Eisley and a couple of second rounders.
Smith finally came into his own as a bona fide scorer, albeit as a streaky shooter. He came off the bench for his five seasons in Denver and averaged 15.4 points per game during the 2009-10 season. He first caught the eye of the public when he averaged 18.3 points per game during the 2008 NBA playoffs.
Sabbatical in China > NYC
Smith also spent a season in China playing with the Zhejiang Golden Bulls in the Chinese Basketball Association. Ex-Knicks such as Jimmer Fredette and Stephon Marbury revitalized their careers in China. Smith only played one season overseas. He to the States, Smith signed with the New York Knicks.
During his first full season back in the NBA, Smith played with more confidence and humility. He came off the bench providing instant offense. Smith scored his career high of 18.3 points per game with the NY Knicks and won the 2013 NBA Sixth Man of the Year award.
Smith re-signed with the Knicks but missed a few games after violating the league’s substance abuse policy. His numbers diminished when he felt out of favor with head coach Mike Woodson. In early 2015, the Knicks traded Smith the Cleveland Cavs in a multi-team trade.
Smith has not been the same proficient scorer since his career-season with the Knicks in 2013.
In 2016, Smith won an NBA championship with the Cleveland Cavs. Smith had and up and down relationship with LeBron James because he was too streaky, especially in the postseason, for King James.
Smith knocked down a couple of big-time treys in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals to help secure a championship for the city of Cleveland. Its residents will never forget those shots, but Smith’s days with the Cavs are dunzo.
Once James bolted the Cavs for the LA Lakers, the Cavs had to pick up the broken pieces of a second LBJ departure. The Cavs got off to a slow start and the team fired head coach Ty Lue. Management wanted Lue to play younger players, which is a modern corporate term for “tanking”, but Lue resisted. Smith was among the veterans caught up in the team’s philosophy doling out significant minutes to younger players.
Smith demanded a trade but the Cavs were unable to move him due to his high salary. He also had no shortage of off-the-court issues with partying, which is why many execs saw him as a high risk, low reward. He stepped away from the team because the Cavs didn’t want him moping around and influencing the younger players.
The Cavs waived Smith in the offseason and he finally got out of an unhappy workplace.
The Toronto Raptors defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals. Kawhi knocked out the Greek Freak in six games. The Bucks are on a mission to go the NBA Finals in 2020, but they lack of multiple outside shooters. Smith has proven he can be a big boost off the bench in the past. If he’s willing to take a serious pay cut, then the Bucks will take a flier on him. Then again, if thing do not work out in Milwaukee, will having Smith on the team create bad chemistry in the locker room?