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Part seven of the series features Nuggets' SG, J.R. Smith. (Archives after the jump)

  • Restricted Free Agent
  • Qualifying offer from Denver: $2,329,517
Legal Problems
  • J.R. Smith is suspended 10 games for his part in a brawl with the Knicks. Smith was intentionally fouled by Mardy Collins late in the game, his suspension stemmed from sparring with Nate Robinson later during the fracas. (December 2006)
  • Smith passes a car waiting at a stop sign, collides with another car in an intersection. His friend is thrown from the car and later dies of his injuries. He is charged with two moving violations. It is later learned that Smith had 27 points on his license, but somehow his license was not suspended. Smith was apparently not under the influence, but obviously he was driving recklessly. (June 2007)
  • Smith says the death of his friend has fundamentally changed him. He comes into the '07-'08 NBA season with a renewed dedication to his game. (Oct. 2, 2007)
  • Smith is charged with assault for reportedly spitting at a woman twice and grabbing her (ripping her dress) at a Denver club. The team suspends Smith. (Oct. 13, 2007)
Thoughts On The Man

The first question we have to ask and answer is whether Smith would be a cancer for this team. Is he a bad apple who would ruin the cohesion in the Sixers locker room? I don't know. The car crash was stupid, but I know a lot of people who made stupid decisions behind the wheel when they were that age, myself included. Honestly, with a little bad luck the same thing could've happened to me or any number of teenage kids. The fact that alcohol and drugs weren't involved makes it somehow less troubling, though I'm not sure that it should. The assault charge, however, is extremely troubling. When a guy has something like that happen to him, you'd think it would necessitate a change. You'd think you'd do anything you could to avoid trouble. Common sense should tell you that you need to avoid situations where things could get out of hand. It's hard to find particulars about the night club incident, but just that fact that he put himself in harm's way again that soon after the car crash raises a huge red flag for me.

The fight with the Knicks was silly, but it's hard to hold that against him. He nearly got his head ripped off on the play and there was a full-scale brawl going on all around him. Each of these things taken on their own could be dismissed as nothing more than a kid growing up way too fast. Any one of them alone you could write off. All three taken at once, however, and you may just have a pattern. I'd like to see him keep his nose clean for a full year before I sunk a big chunk of change into him.

Thoughts On The Player

Now that we have the off-court stuff out of the way, let's talk about what he would bring to the team, should the Sixers decide they want him and they win a bidding war. First of all, this kid has unlimited range. He can hit the jumper from 6 feet beyond the three-point line with ease. He's a slasher, he can run, he's athletic and his shooting numbers were outstanding last year, 46% from the floor, 40% from three. He would absolutely be a huge upgrade to this team offensively.

On defense, well, he's a sieve. I'm not sure you could get away with starting him. He'd probably be a 15-20 minutes/game guy to come off the bench. Now, if my choice was either Smith or Willie Green, I'd take Smith in a heartbeat, but I don't think that's the choice the Sixers are going to face. Smith is going to probably get a contract worth north of $5M per year, too much to pay for a shooter who can't move right into the starting lineup, as far as I'm concerned.

Thoughts on Likelihood

The Nuggets can match any offer for Smith, but I have a feeling if his doors aren't blown off with an offer he'll sign his qualifying offer, play out his contract in Denver and become an unrestricted free agent after the season. If the Sixers really wanted him, they have the money, they could get him or at least make Denver over pay to keep him. I just don't see Ed Stefanski going that far out on a limb for a guy with a checkered past, especially when he's probably best used off the bench.

What do you guys think, is he enough of an improvement to forget about his legal problems? Has he already outgrown them? Would you want him on our team?

Check after the jump for the rest of the series.
by Brian on May 13 2008
Tags: Basketball | J.R. Smith | Offseason | Sixers |