It's Swish Time, Laker Fan

JR Swish. The Henny God who Hates Henny.

Jim Rome
June 30, 2020 - 9:29 am
J.R. Smith and LeBron James

USA Today

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With Avery Bradley announcing that he won’t be joining the Lakers in Orlando, LA has a decision to make. They need another guard. They could use someone who would stretch the floor and someone who has experience on the biggest stage.

What about adding a guy who’s top four in NBA history for made threes in the NBA Finals? Would that be interesting to you, Laker fans? If you want someone to stretch the floor and help you get to the finals, how about the guy who’s made more threes in the Finals than just about anyone else who has ever played the game?

And no, I’m not talking about Michael Jordan coming out of retirement. And it’s not Ray Allen or Robert Horry either. LA isn’t doing a deal with the Warriors for Steph or Klay.

The guy I’m talking about is this guy…

JR Swish. The Henny God who Hates Henny. And yes, he is fourth all-time in Finals history for made threes. He’s ahead of Robert Horry and Ray Allen and Manu Ginobili. He’s ahead of everyone not named Klay, LeBron, and Steph.

And yesterday, we moved one step closer to the moment we’ve been waiting for. And that step came in the form of a tweet from Adrian Wojnarowski:

Free agent guard J.R. Smith and the Lakers are working through final steps of a deal today and he will be added to roster for the Orlando restart, sources tell ESPN.

That is one step closer to LeBron and J.R. reuniting. One step closer to a glorious future that is a reminder of an incredible past. A past that includes moments like this from Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals.

Cleveland at Golden State. 4.7 seconds left and Cleveland’s George Hill at the line. He made the first free throw to tie the game. Make the second, the Cavs have the lead and a chance to steal Game 1 and home court. Roll it.

 

That is the stuff of legend. JR Smith getting a crucial rebound, and instead of going back up with to win the game, he races out to midcourt with the ball, while LeBron is yelling at him, and then at the last second, fires the ball to Hill who has to take a desperation shot.

That is a moment that changed history. Golden State went on to win the Game and the series. But that moment itself gave us the incredible meme of LeBron yelling to Smith with both hands out, like what were you doing?

And it led to LeBron reportedly breaking his hand when he went back into the locker room after losing the game. Which was completely understandable given the fact that he’d just scored 51 points on the road in the Finals and it wasn’t enough.

And then it led to some absolutely incredible quotes from Smith. Initially after the game, he said he knew the score.

"It was a tie ballgame and we had a timeout. I tried to get enough space because, obviously, KD [Kevin Durant] was standing right there. I tried to get enough space to bring it out to maybe get a shot off. And then I looked over at Bron [LeBron James], and he looked like he was trying to call a timeout. So I stopped. And then the game was over."

A day later, he wasn’t so sure. Of the score. Or of anything.

And you are telling me now that we are going through the final steps of JR Smith not just returning to the league, but joining the Lakers and reuniting with LeBron? Do it. Make it happen. Make the dream real.

Because the Lakers don’t just need this, we all need this. We all need JR Smith back.

Not just because of what he brings on the floor, but what he brings in life. Where else are you going to find a guy who’s been fined serious money for untying an opponent’s shoe? Or a guy who has thrown a bowl of soup at a coach? Or a guy who forgot the score at the end of a game in the finals?

After the year that we’ve all had, we need this guy back in the league. Because the league is better when JR Smith is in it.

But let’s be serious. He’s not just the walking, talking meme that you all want to make him out to be. The Lakers aren’t signing him for a joke. Or to get another meme out of it.   They are signing him to win games. They are signing him because they believe he can help. They’re doing it because of the options that are available, he’s the best. You think LeBron would bring back a guy who cost him a ring already, if he didn’t he think he could help him win another?

You don’t spend more than a decade in the league just because you’re a good dude; and wacky and cool to be around. You do it because you can make plays. And there might not be a better bad-shot maker than JR Smith.

He set the Cavs record for made threes in a half with six in a playoff game against the Hawks. Afterwards, LeBron said “J.R., he’s the only one on the team that has the ultra-green light. It’s like fluorescent.”

Meme aside, bowl of soup throwing aside, he fits well with LeBron. They know each other, they know how the other guy operates and what the other guy needs. And they make it work.

And if there is any sense of poetry or justice in this world, the Lakers get to the Finals played at a theme park during a global pandemic and JR Smith sets up LeBron James for a clutch play. Or J.R. actually remembers the score, gets the rebound and goes right back up with it. That is what the world needs right now. That won’t just be good for the Lakers that will be good for all of us.

So when it comes to this move for the Lakers, I’m not giving it a green light, I’m giving it the ultra-green light. It is fluorescent. Hell yes, I’m concerned about a return to action for the NBA in Orlando: I’m concerned about all of us returning to action. But just a little less so with J.R. Swish leading the charge.