It's true folks, he's finally on the trading block! It's the Denver Nugget we've all been waiting for... J.R SWISH! Ha, no. But! While he may be no Antoine Walker when it comes to awesome possible late-offseason additions to the roster, JR Smith and his $6 million 2011-expiring contract are up for grabs. Is JR Smith a bad motherfucker? Yes. Would he be a good addition to our roster? Probably... not. But it's late August, so... jump?
The facts: JR Smith is one of the gazillion dollars of expiring deals the Nuggets have. Since they're probably going to lose out on next summer's biggest free agent, they can definitely comfortably absorb a little cap hit for 2011. They're not terribly deep at SG, so they'll need someone back who can play that position at least passably. They are also hurting for big men right now with K-Mart and Nene injured leaving them with a front court of Birdman and Al Harrington (side note: if Gallo does get traded to Denver this year, maybe the saddest thing about it will be trying to catch Nugget games to see him play and having to watch Al Chucketts steal shots from him AGAIN. But I digress...). So they'll want a big man too. You gotta assume we'd have to offer something like Ronny Turiaf, plus Azubuike or Chandler or Walker and Douglas for JR Smith (+ maybe a small filler contract to make it work). If this went down after December 15, Mason and Mozgov would be eligible as well. So, that being said...
Pros: JR Smith can flat out put the ball in the cup. Off the dribble, from outside, above the rim, on the break... dude does it all and he's nasty about it. When he's on he's a lights-out scorer that can easily go off for 20-25 points. He has defensive ability, which is not to say that he's a solid defender, but he can be a playmaker on defense as well and can be a tough defender when he wants to be. Not the most eager distributor, but has pretty good court vision and can pull off some very slick passes. In the Knicks wide-open game, he could be extremely dangerous, and he is without a doubt more talented than Rudy Fernandez. He's only 26, and did I mention dude is straight up nasty? If anything he suffers from too much swagger. A line-up of Felton, JR Smith, Gallo, Randolph and Amar'e would be the runningest, jumpingest, 3 point shooting-est, alley-oopingest, sick dunkingest team in the league, easy. And last but not least, if it doesn't work out, he's gone at the end of next season.
Cons: JR Smith is a chronic chucker. He falls in love with the 3 ball to the tune of 6 attempts per game, which was okay for the three seasons where he shot 39-40%, not so much last season at 33%. He and Gallo would probably combine for about 12 3pt attempts per game, maybe even more, which... yikes. This tendency would definitely not improve under D'Antoni. Nor would his defense, most likely--and we'd be giving up some strong defenders to land him. When JR isn't swishing he's still shooting anyway, and can have a Jamal Crawfordesque ability to shoot you out of games when he's cold. In fact, I'd call him a mix of Jamal and Monta Ellis, with all the good and the bad that entails. As Knicks fans know, there's a fine line between dripping in swag and being a knucklehead showboat begging to get benched for wasting Mike D'Antoni's flavor. Would it be worth having Nate Robinson back if he were nine inches taller and had lame neck tattoos?
It's like brawling with a funhouse mirror...
Anyway, the answer is no, definitely not. Denver can probably find a better deal elsewhere anyway, and even so, no. JR Smith is the kind of loose cannon chucker we have been trying to purge from this franchise for years. He'd be possibly too much fuel on what should already be a pretty hot-burning Knicks offensive game, and his inconsistency and immaturity are not what the youngn's like Gallo and Randolph need. Sure he's probably more exciting and talented than Azubuike, Mason or Chandler but we need their smart, solid play and unflashy production, along with Turiaf's defensive presence and leadership more than we need another gunslinger... unless the Nuggets happen to be willing to trade a certain somebody else...
For now, let's just enjoy J.R. Smith the way he was meant be enjoyed: from the safe distance of a sick highlight mix:
JR Smith Career Mix HD (via wetagua)