May 18, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith (8) reacts to losing to the Indiana Pacers in game six of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats New York 106-99. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
J.R. Smith’s maturity has been questioned ever since he entered the league. He has shown signs of developing his child like attitude, clubbing during the playoffs, and knowing what to say and when but whenever it seems Smith is turning over a new leaf, it just ends in misery for the fans of the team he plays on.
Many have said that the New York Knicks will not be able to win an NBA Championship with Smith as the second scorer and to all those fans I say that they’re wrong.
Sure his work ethic has been questioned, sure he’s at the wrong places at the wrong times but what he can do on a basketball court with the ball in his hands, or even without the ball is unquestionable. Mike Woodson has transformed Smith into a player that has aspirations of winning ever since he’s come to New York.
Smith is one of the most lethal scorers in the league in his day and ever since Woodson’s defensive approach has been brought into New York, Smith has been putting in work on the boards and has shown signs of development on his perimeter defense.
Let’s set the obvious aside firstly.
We all know Smith is an inconsistent pure scorer and is more than capable of winning games or losing games for his team. Now that we have that out of the way, here’s why the Knicks can still win an NBA championship with him.
Firstly Smith has looked like a changed man ever since coming to New York. Previously in Denver, Smith, would be throwing up any shot he liked and going for the most audacious dunks, which didn’t always go to plan but ever since he’s come to New York and found a coach that believes in him, and encourages him to shoot the ball, he has looked at times that he is surveying the floor for the open man or looking to see where he can find an opening to drive to spread the floor, which if you ask any Nuggets fan, Smith has never done.
On the defensive end of things, Smith has a reputation for being streaky but even at his best he was merely average. Ever since he has come to New York and has been able to play with lockdown shooting guard Iman Shumpert and defensive spearhead Tyson Chandler, Smith looks more committed and it showed as he put in work night in and night out on the boards and proved to many fans that when put in the right environment that he can flourish and not be a liability to a team.
I’ve made Smith seem perfect haven’t I?
Well there are obviously going to be some negatives to a player, all players have some faults.
Smith’s biggest fault is that he is not capable of wiping out mistakes he’s made. After elbowing Jason Terry in the playoffs, he came back after serving his one game suspension and didn’t look like he knew what he was doing. Once something has mentally put Smith off, expect it to stay for a while.
Smith has his ups and his downs but overall I do not think that he hinders the Knicks long time goal of an NBA Championship, rather I feel he helps their cause for the eluded NBA Championship.