After a prolonged absence, the Los Angeles Lakers are back in the NBA Finals. While he didn’t play much throughout the playoffs, JR Smith is headed to the Finals for the fifth time in his career, and every time he’s done it, it’s been as a LeBron James teammate. He may not have impacted many games but bench players do have important roles on teams, even though they often don’t get recognized for it.
That didn’t stop a fan from calling out Smith for not playing much in the playoffs. Never one to stay quiet, Smith clapped back.
Smith is right, he’ll still get a ring even if he doesn’t play a single minute in the Finals. Even Avery Bradley might get a ring and he didn’t even come to the bubble. Every player on the roster has a role to play, even if they don’t see minutes in the game. While Smith hasn’t played a lot, he’s been a big source of energy on the bench. With no fans allowed at games, that kind of energy can really help a team.
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Smith Predicted This Year’s Finals Matchup
The Heat had a good season but nobody expected them to be this good once the NBA returned. Nobody except for Smith. He predicted the Heat to play the Lakers in the Finals all the way back in February.
That was a helluva prediction by Smith. That was long before he was even a member of the Lakers. The fact that they were able to dominate the Milwaukee Bucks and then beat the Boston Celtics in six games was no small feat. The Heat are for real and Jimmy Butler has cemented himself as one of the league’s best.
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Will Smith Have a Role in the Finals?
Outside of Game 1 against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, Smith didn’t play. He also only played one game in round two of the playoffs against the Houston Rockets. He saw more playing time against the Portland Trail Blazers but that was before Rajon Rondo got healthy.
It appears that Smith likely won’t see the court much against the Heat in the Finals. He joined the team just before the NBA bubble so it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that he hasn’t worked his way into the rotation. Though he won’t play much, he still brings a lot of energy on the bench. He also sounds content in his role. Considering he wasn’t on a team before the Lakers signed him, he’s probably just happy to be around. Smith is also a good piece to have in case the team needs to switch things up. The Heat will be the toughest test the Lakers have faced yet. Perhaps Smith could wiggle his way into the lineup if the team struggles. He’s played in a lot of these high stakes games before.