We all know J.R. Smith has offensive capabilities. Including this.
But there is a lot more to his game - and I don't just mean that in a good way.
One thing that I do have to say, however, is he has become a good defender. I didn't say great defender - he still has his lapses: as we all call them, "J.R. moments". At least he bends his knees on defense now. He used to ball watch a lot more and spends a lot of time exerting effort to slow down the guy he is guarding. He's not at AAA's level of defense at the guard position, but he is solid, and can get by more often than not. Again, you couldn't say that in the past.
I think that to realize how good his defense has become, you need to go back to how bad it was when he played in NOLA. Or when he first got here.
Also, his handles have gotten way better. His mid range jump shot now looks more than decent. He has the highest number of 30+ foot makes ending a non-fourth quarter this season of any NBA player (correct me if I am wrong).
Now, with Melo gone, he looks more at ease and letting his shot find him more. That means passing the ball up far more often than not. Of course he jacks up ill advised shots every now and then - but usually it is after he has hit a bunch of good looks and just wants to test his hot hand. Chauncey, LeBeef and just about anyone else who gets hot is guilty of this as well. *cough* Melo *cough*
His ability to run the backup point is a real commodity, and it has allowed us to keep size on the ros
ter (Eli, Koufus) without the F.O. freaking out and ditching a veteran big man or a promising young talent (respectively). He pushes the pace when tasked with handling the offense, and can make plays happen. Against the raptors isn't the first time we've seen it - he has had stints at backup PG in the last 2-3 years and has steadily improved.
All of that said, I'm not sold on J.R.
And that is why I pose this question: What do you think of J.R.? What is he going to bring us in the playoffs? C
ould we say "Veteran Leader" when referring to J.R. in the near future?
Comment below on your thoughts on J.R. and vote in the poll.