NBA News: J.R. Smith to Join Chandler in China


Wilson Chandler will have some company in China this season. Fellow Denver Nuggets free agent J.R. Smith is following him overseas.
Another teammate, Ty Lawson, is taking his game abroad as well, electing to play in Lithuania. Unlike Chandler and Smith, Lawson will be able to cut short his overseas adventure should the lockout end in time for there to be an NBA season.

Even if the issues are resolved in time for there to be a 2011-12 NBA season, Chandler and Smith won't be able to return to play in the NBA until the end of the Chinese season, which runs through March.
Smith becomes just the latest player to temporarily sign overseas, but unlike all those with escape clauses in their foreign contracts, he will have to play in China for at least one full season before returning to the NBA.  With the lockout situation still gloomy, the decision to go play overseas has become increasingly embraced as basketball season approaches. 

Smith is an incredibly athletic player with great scoring ability, and hopefully this exposure to Chinese basketball will help him become a more complete player.  He is yet to live up to his full potential, and his ability to score in bunches has always been largely overshadowed by his errant shot selection and inconsistent effort on defense.
If he puts in the effort, Smith could certainly benefit from playing overseas, and when he returns maybe he’ll be able to make a name for himself as much more than just a potential competitor in the dunk contest.