J.R. Smith agrees that politics and analytics have blackballed John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and others from NBA

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Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Former Cleveland Cavaliers guard J.R. Smith agreed with a take on social media claiming that politics and analytics have blackballed players like John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Kemba Walker, Isaiah Thomas and others from the NBA.

Essentially, the claim made was that players like Wall, Tyreke Evans and others are needed to create shots and that they could make an impact – and even potentially start – on an NBA roster right now.

Smith agreed with the sentiment, sharing a post on the social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter).

While many of the players mentioned in the post were quality pieces during their primes, a lot of them are also past their primes.

Players like Wall, Cousins, Thomas and Walker have all dealt with major injuries that have limited their effectiveness. While they are still talented, NBA teams may not want to take risks on aging veterans with those types of injury histories.

If one looks at Wall, for example, he has played in just 147 games since the start of the 2017-18 season. He last played for the Clippers in the 2022-23 season.

Cousins’ numbers are very similar. The former first-round pick has played in just 167 games since the start of the 2017-18 season. He’s dealt with a ruptured Achilles and torn ACL. He last played in the 2021-22 season for the Denver Nuggets.

Smith seems to think that these players still have something to offer in the NBA – and he may not be wrong.

However, with these stars aging, seemingly declining in their games and being injury-prone, NBA teams are likely going to use their final roster spots on younger players to see if they can develop into rotation pieces.

It may not be completely fair to some of these veterans, but it’s hard to argue that players like Wall, Cousins, Walker and others could come in and contribute when they have fallen out of rotations when they were last in the league.

Take Walker, for example, who went from starting for the New York Knicks in the 2021-22 season to being completely removed from the rotation in the middle of the season. He then tried to latch on with the Dallas Mavericks the following season, but only lasted nine games with the franchise – shooting 42.1 percent from the field and 25.0 percent from 3 over that stretch.

The NBA is always looking for new and improved talent, and it’s led to some veterans getting phased out late in their careers. Smith would like to see them get a chance, but it is likely going to be hard for them to do so unless they can prove they can stay healthy and contribute at a high level.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.