The Los Angeles Lakers hosted J.R. Smith and Dion Waiters for workouts on Monday as they begin to start their search to fill the open roster spot they created when they waived Troy Daniels.
On the debut (!!!) episode of “Lakers, Explained” — a new, weekly show on the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed — co-hosts Harrison Faigen and Christian Rivas broke down the cases for and against both Smith and Waiters, starting with Smith.
Christian broke down a lot of the reasons he likes Smith in a story on this very website, but he and Harrison debated the merits of the soup-afficianado, and how he’d fit in on this current roster. Smith is a good (and willing) shooter with some size, giving the Lakers a bit more depth on the wing if they need it in the postseason.
But while both agreed that Smith might be a more seamless fit, there is also a case to be made that Waiters is the higher-upside signing, and could (in theory) address more of a need. He’s a more capable ballhandler than Smith at this stage of their careers, and that’s an area where the Lakers have needed some help this season. The question is if ol’ Kobe Wade is the right guy to give it to them.
There is also the reality that neither player is likely to play very much even if they are brought in, and so the Lakers have to weigh how they’d fit into the locker room, and if they believe Smith or Waiters would actually enthusiastically accept a low-usage role if it meant getting to join a contender.