Jan 7, 2014; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith (8) dribbles the ball around Detroit Pistons small forward Kyle Singler (25) during the second half at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks won 89-85. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

Buckets Over Broadway Roundtable: How to Handle J.R. Smith

J.R. Smith has become the object of many New York Knicks fans’ ire. His play last season was solid, but he acted out both on and off the court in the playoffs, building a brick house on the court. Since earning his new contract, Smith has performed poorly on the court while still misbehaving. From his poor shot selection that blew the Knicks’ chances for a win in Houston to untying opponents’ shoe laces, fans are quickly losing patience with Smith.

Some of the Buckets Over Broadway team gathered to discuss Smith’s role going forward.

Should J.R. Smith see a decrease in his minutes, given his recent behavior and performance?

Richard Bertin (@richardbertin): He absolutely should see a drop in minutes and now is the perfect time. J.R.’s been having a wildly disappointing season as it is, but it really wasn’t until now that Iman Shumpert & Toure’ Murry have elevated their games to another level that warrants taking some of J.R.’s minutes. J.R. is averaging over 32 minutes a game with 13 FG attempts and has only been good for 11.5 points a game. Shump averages about 5 minutes less than J.R. and only scores about 3-4 points less. In terms of sending a message, it makes even more sense for promising young players to see Smith held accountable for poor play and off court decisions while they are rewarded for their hard work. Besides, us fans can use some time off from JR also.

Scott Davis (@WScottDavis): J.R. Smith should see a decrease in minutes, but as is always the case with J.R., it depends on the context. Smith has found ways to be effective besides for scoring the ball this season. He’s averaging 4.6 boards per game and 3 assists per game, and, to his credit has shown a willingness to make the extra pass to find an open shooter. Additionally, while he’s only shooting 34% from the field this season, his three-point percentage has steadily hiked up from the 20s to 34%, which is close to his rate from last season. When he’s not in chuck mode, Smith can still be helpful on the floor, but less than the 32 minutes per game he’s getting now.

Dec 28, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; New York Knicks point guard J.R. Smith (8) brings the ball up the court against the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Raptors beat the Knicks 115-100. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Frank Diglio (@nellieblystunad): J.R.Smith needs to see his minutes go down mainly because they would if he was anybody else on the team. Besides shooting a subpar 34% from the field, he is shooting 42% at the rim and 41% in the paint overall. He has a negative net PER at both the small forward and shooting guard positions. The team defense also gets worse by 4 points with him on the floor. The most frustrating part of J.R.’s game currently. though, is in the fourth quarter. His FG% is down to 32% in those last 12 minutes and while he does shoot 55% in the paint in the fourth, he has only taken 18 shots there as opposed to 56 threes and shoots 27% on those shots.

James Griffo (@j_griff): J.R should definitely see a decrease in minutes, without a doubt. At 32 minutes a contest, shooting a very dismal 34%, same as his 3FG% mark, the Knicks cannot afford to get shot out of another game. As Richard said, he’s attempting 13 shots a game and he’s only making 4 on average. Tim Hardaway Jr., who has been on a tear from downtown this year, shooting close to 42%, should be allocated about 5-6 J.R’s minutes. The only way J.R will win fans back is if he starts driving to the rim at an unyielding rate like he did last year. That was the principal reason why he was awarded the Sixth Man of the Year last year for that stretch of inspiring play in the latter parts of last season, going into last year’s playoffs. 

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