Would JR Smith Play Defense In San Antonio?

24 06 2008

I’ve been on countless teams in my life. Teams at work, teams for school or teams to volunteer. Athletic teams or scholastic teams. You name it and I’ve most likely participated in it.

If I could take one aspect from my experience and apply it to team-building, it would be this: never make your teams homogeneous. Even if only one person is different, it would be a mistake if everyone’s the same.

It’s better to have a different perspective on a team. Switching it up puts a different spin on the ball.

While developing their new mini-van, would Ford brainstorm only with suburban soccer moms? No.

Would Miller Brewing recruit only college kids from Milwaukee? No.

Would the US Congress allow only upper-class, white men to serve as representatives? Wait a second…

JR Smith, the explosive prep-to-pro 2 guard, will become a free agent this summer. There are rumblings that San Antonio is interested in him. The thought of this signing has been dismissed by many.

It’s really not that crazy. I’m not talking about USA men’s soccer qualifying for Beijing.

Gregg Popovich has drawn outside of the lines before. He’s brought disagreeable personalities into the Spurs locker room before. Remember Cherokee Parks?

Remember when Popovich brought Stephen Jackson? Captain Jack helped Popovich to his second ring and his first 60-win season.

Granted, Jackson didn’t get his cuckoo label until he left San Antonio but his game is somewhat similar.

Both Jackson and Smith are athletic guards that can hit the long range J. Smith can attack the basket but has shown hesitancy to do so at times which is similar to a young Stephen Jackson.

They are decidedly different though. Although a lot of people rag on Jackson, I’m a fan. People once argued that he was the Spurs’ best defender — this was a team featuring Bruce Bowen, Manu Ginobili (in acclimation phase) and a still-formidable Steve Smith on the roster. JR Smith, on the other hand, plays what my friend likes to call “matador defense.” He jumps around with a lot of arm movement but then manages to get out of the way at the last second.

Another key difference is locker room presence. Jackson, like Rasheed Wallace, does not have a good relationship with the media. But by all accounts, including coaches Don Nelson and Rick Carlisle, he’s a great guy to have on your team. The same has not been said for JR Smith.

It’s interesting to note that Smith is 22 years old which is the same age Jackson was when he joined the Spurs. Although Smith has more professional years under his belt, Popovich would be dealing with a young man in the same emotional level of development.

Smith is a more efficient, if not better, scorer than Jackson was at this age. Smith shoots 46.1% from the field and 40.3% from three. Before he joined the Spurs, Jackson shot 42.5% from the field and 33.5% from three.

Jackson has always intrigued me because he can fit in a defensive system (Spurs) and flourish in an offensive system (Warriors). JR Smith has shown that he can explode in the Nuggets’ offense. Can he be the next Stephen Jackson?








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