The Milwaukee Bucks have reportedly shown interest in free agent shooting guard J.R. Smith according to ESPN New York’s Ian Begley:
Based on early conversations, Milwaukee and Detroit are among several teams that have shown interest in free agent J.R. Smith, sources say.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) June 26, 2013
A handful of things:
- Since Milwaukee parted ways with Ruben Patterson after the 2006-07 season, the Bucks have been very careful with the type of player they have acquired. It’s been a “character first” type of organization. Herb Kohl semi-famously vetoed a trade for Zach Randolph, presumably because of concerns about his ability to not show up in the police blotter. The only potential red-flag type the Bucks have brought on since then was Stephen Jackson. We know how that worked out. So at first blush, Smith, who has been arrested a few times, with the most recent arrest and citations coming on relatively minor violations, doesn’t seem like the Bucks type.
- Additionally, much has been made of Smith’s social habits. He parties. With Rhianna and stuff. During the playoffs. I’m not judging, because if I were him, I have a hard time believing I’d be able to avoid getting caught up in the atmosphere of the New York social scene, but if that’s how he does things, I’m not sure either Milwaukee will be a great fit for him or he’ll have much of a desire to be in Milwaukee.
- The bad shots? That wouldn’t be anything new to the Bucks. He’s a capable and sometimes destructive (in a positive way) three-point shooter. He made 35.6% of his threes last season on 5.5 attempts per game. He also averaged a modest, yet career high, 3.9 free throw attempts per game, of which he made three nightly. His 18.1 points per game last season were a career high as well, though per 36 minutes he had only his fifth best scoring season. Most people agree that Smith grew a bit as a player since joining the Knicks by reigning in some of the bad shots and becoming a better defender.
- Smith opted against picking up a player option for next season at $2,932,742. Logic indicates he’ll at least be looking for a deal starting at $5 million, though even that may be a bit low. He’s nowhere near the passer is, but he’s a far better three-point shooter. But if you think Monta drove you mad by pulling up too often rather than attacking the rim, Smith will ruin your life. But very likely at a more affordable price.
- I’d have a hard time of thinking of a player less of a natural fit for the city of Milwaukee and the Bucks organization, but crazi … no, I don’t know if anything crazier has happened than J.R. Smith voluntarily living in Milwaukee during the NBA season. That would be the craziest. Milwaukee’s been tied to a few different wings already, very early in the off season process and they’ll likely continue to poke around trying to find solutions for their problems on the perimeter. Chances are, very few wing free agents won’t hear from the Bucks at some point. Due diligence, no matter how crazy it seems.