Apr 28, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith (8) during the first half of game one in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

J.R. Smith: ESPN Player Rank No. 132

Next on our analysis of the 2012 ESPN NBA Player Ranking is Knicks’ shooting (with an emphasis on shooting) guard, J.R. Smith.

J.R. Smith stock has dropped in past season, with his ranking falling from #110 in 2011 to #132 in 2012. Notable people who are now ranked higher than J.R. Smith now are Mo Williams (#125), Gordon Hayward (#123),  and J.J. Redick  (#115).

Are you kidding me?

Not that any of these players I mentioned earlier don’t deserve to be ranked higher than Smith, but Smith when willing can out play any of these players on any given day. At 27 years old and eight years of service in this league,  Smith has a 132 out of a possible 500 ranking to show for it.

I’m disappointed because Smith has enough talent still today to start on practically any team in this league. Smith is a very effective scorer because of his explosiveness and athleticism. But yet he has range for miles with his streaky outside shooting. With his dynamic offensive game, one wonders why he hasn’t averaged 20 points in a season or been All-Star–two things I definitely believe he can do.  But his attitude and lack consistency has stopped these two things from happening.

May 6, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith (8) dribbles around Miami Heat small forward Shane Battier (31) during the second half of game four in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Knicks won 89-87. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

And there lies the problem. Smith hasn’t been consistent, disciplined, or motivated for a majority of his tenure in the NBA. The reason why he doesn’t score 20 points a night is because he’s more incline to jack a long contested jumper rather than drive to the basket. Teams will respect Smith’s streaky jumper but they feel a whole lot more comfortable with him out on the perimeter rather than wreaking havoc on drives to the basket.

I’m not saying that Smith needs to score 20 points to be amazing player in this league or on the Knicks but someone with his capabilities should be ashamed that he doesn’t have the starting role on this Knicks’ team. He should be disappointed that he hasn’t been the “guy” on any of the teams he’s been on even though skill set screams that.

Next season I would like Smith, to showcase the versatility in his game–on both ends of the floor. With the double teams that Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire command, there should be a loads of scoring opportunities for Smith to score on and he should really take advantage of this and take more efficient shots or try to get to foul line more.

If Smith believes the Knicks should contend for a title next season, then he should bring his game–all aspects of it–next season because the Knicks organization and fans will greatly appreciate it.

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