Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel admitted JR Smith’s familiarity with LeBron James was one of the reasons that the team signed him.
Smith played three years alongside James at Cleveland Cavaliers. He was a part of the 2016 championship-winning team that incredibly came back from behind against Golden State Warriors in the finals.
“His familiarity with LeBron and the way we built our team, obviously around LeBron, there are a lot of similarities to the things they did in Cleveland. That definitely is a factor in what we feel JR can bring to the team in what is going to be a very short time to get acclimated,” Vogel said, as per a video obtained from The Lakers Review on Twitter.
Many might remember Smith for an incident when he infuriated LeBron James after failing to attempt a shot in the clutch moments in the 2018 NBA finals. But there is much more to his game. During his years at the Cavaliers, Smith has made significant contributions with his three-pointers in playoff games.
After joining the Lakers only last year as their head coach, Vogel quickly turned things around for the team. After having acquired Anthony Davis to accompany LeBron James, Vogel’s men immediately became title contenders. Prior to the league’s suspension, they were on top of the Western Conference with 49 wins. They had the best record in the league after Milwaukee Bucks.
Vogel believed the Lakers play a simple system that shouldn’t be difficult for newcomers to adopt. He hoped Smith and Dion Waiters, another recent acquisition, would settle as quickly as the players at the start of the season did.
“I think there’s gonna be plenty of time. We have a simple system that we hope can be picked up pretty quickly. Our guys picked it up pretty quickly to start the season. And we hope that it is gonna be the same for Dion and JR,” Vogel said.