Browsing Posts tagged JR Smith

The 8-18 New York Knicks are in serious trouble. Just one season after winning 54 games, the Knicks are devoid of any championship talk or aspirations. On the surface, it’s just a matter of time before owner James Dolan axes  head coach, Mike Woodson and replaces him with assistant coach, Herb Williams. However, such a move would essentially end the Knicks’ season and may push impending free agent, Carmelo Anthony out the door. In addition, the lack of suitable replacements on the open market make axing Woodson a premature move. The Knicks could turn to ex-Knicks Larry Johnson or Allan Houston to take Woodson’s spot on the bench, but neither guy has skill or experience to take over the team. 

While it’s easy to blame a coach for a team’s slow start, Carmelo Anthony and co. can’t deflect all of the blame. Melo is averaging 26.4 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game, but his poor showing percentage (44.3%) and low assist total (2.9 APG) aren’t getting it done. JR Smith is starting to play better, but Woodson did not have Smith’s services for the first five games of the season. Add in Tyson Chandler’s 20-game departure due to a broken leg and the injuries sustained by Pablo Prigioni and Raymond Felton have rendered the Knicks without a point guard. Still, if the Knicks continue to lose games, Woodson won’t be around to see all of his guys return. 

More times than not, coaches are saddled with the blame for failing to meet expectations. They receive credit and failure based on their team’s performance. Under certain circumstances, the coach should be given a chance to turn things around. Woodson, winner of 54 games last season, should coach the Knicks for the entire season. Axing Woodson now will just lead to turmoil during a season when the team must rebound and prove it can retain the talents of Carmelo Anthony. 

Photo courtesy of Yahoo

JR Smith is the newest member of the Knicks and re-enforcement to my point from the Pre-Lin era.

Dude gets off a plane from China, hops on the floor and just balls for 30 minutes. Hits some tough shots and shows some unselfishness, surprisingly. It was even obvious he hadn’t ever played with this squad before with some looking around with the ball while running through the paint.

Result: They beat the defending champs, (fifth best defensive team in the league) and Jeremy Lin continues to school any and all comers. He was double-teamed and trapped the whole game and what does he do?

14 dimes (career high).

A tough third quarter was quickly gathered under control by the wise-beyond-his-only-eight-games floor general. He rallied the team as well as the electric Garden crowd and comes up again with clutch, hard drives to the basket in the final minutes. Lin’s heroics against Dallas turned Steve Novak into a fourth quarter hero, proving he can get to the rack or hit the hot hand in his optimal scoring situation.

JR Smith also foreshadows what this team can do when Melo is inserted back into the line up, assuming he means what he has been saying and buys into the team play and passion on both ends of the floor. If, and that’s a big if, that happens, this Knicks team is all of a sudden a very tough contender in the Eastern Conference. And if the Knicks can claim the fourth or fifth seed, expect a strong run in the post-season.

Todd Giannattasio is a guest blogger for New York State Of Sports. Todd’s newest venture is an online store for quality beer fridges and wine coolers. You can follow him on Twitter @Tresnic.

Before dropping their first game in about two weeks, the Knicks inked free agent shooting guard and Newark native, J.R. Smith. Smith, who had been playing in China, averaged 12.4 points per game last season with the Denver Nuggets. Smith was apparently recruited by former team mate, Carmelo Anthony. In Smith, the Knicks get a player who can come off the bench, score, and shoot well from three-point range. Smith made 39 percent of his threes last season. Smith is also a very tough defender and should adapt well to the Knicks’ pick-and-roll scheme under Jeremy Lin.

While Smith has been a decent player on the court, he has had his issues off the hardwood. In 2009, Smith spent three weeks in jail for reckless driving. Smith has had his share of nightclub incidents as well, which have resulted in suspensions. Clearly, J.R. Smith isn’t the model professional athlete, but he has toughness and ruggedness that the Knicks need.

A bench scorer that can shoots three and play tight defense? Sounds like something the doctor ordered. 

Welcome to NYC, J.R.