Smith hasn’t played a game of NBA basketball since Nov. 19, 2018. It’s been even longer since he’s played a meaningful game of basketball. However, Smith has stayed in shape by working out — most recently with Lakers players, according to a report from Tania Ganguli and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times.
In the most recent episode of “Inside The Green Room,” Danny Green (sort of) confirmed those rumors while talking about the Lakers potentially signing Smith, and what he’s seen from the former Cleveland Cavaliers guard when they’ve worked out together:
“He looks good. When I have seen it, he’s shot the ball well. He looks (to be) in pretty good shape. So we’ll see where it goes. I don’t make those decisions, it’s above my head, above my pay grade, but the times that I have seen him work out, and the times I’ve seen him in the gym, he looked like he was in good shape. He looked pretty crisp. So we’ll see what our roster looks like, man.
“But whoever it is, I have good faith in us. I have faith we’ll still get it done when you have guys like LeBron James and Anthony Davis leading us, and we have a good, solid group behind them. We’re gonna push through and figure out how to make it work.”
What’s funny is that Smith and his new teammates are roughly in the same boat because of the season’s suspension. While the Lakers might be in better game shape than Smith, he has less ground to make up than he would have if he joined the team midway through a normal season because the Lakers haven’t played in almost three months.
Is it likely that Smith will play a big role for the Lakers in Bradley’s absence? No, but it’s still important that he’s physically able to contribute if his number is called.
Hopefully a few weeks of training camp will be what he needs to find his footing, because the only thing that would be better than Alex Caruso having a big game in the postseason would be a vintage J.R. performance helping the Lakers earn a ring.