J.R. Smith is on his way back to the NBA from China and according to ESPN his most likely destination is either Lob City or New York. While the Clippers can only sign him to a minimum salary, the Knicks have the cap space to sign him to a more lucrative deal for the midlevel exception of a pro-rated $2.5 million. Former teammates from each squad are recruiting the combo guard with CP3 and Kenyon Martin egging Smith to go west while crash test buddy Carmelo Anthony is telling him to come to the concrete jungle. Do us all a favor Melo, let the Clips have him.
Smith is a solid 3 point shooter and a SportsCenter Top 10 highlight waiting to happen. I love playing as him in NBA2K games on PlayStation. He’s a career 12.5 points per game player in the NBA and averaged nearly 37 points per game in China for the Zhejiang Golden Bulls including a 60 point performance. At 26 years old with tons of potential, there are plenty of NBA teams that would love to have him and this video shows exactly what J.R. Swish is capable of:
Did you catch that first part? “I don’t pass but I shoot, right? Hahaha.” The Knicks are in the midst of a 7 game winning streak because of team play. 7 different Knicks players scored double figures in their blowout win last night against the Sacramento Kings. J.R. Smith is the definition of a “me first” player and that’s the last thing the Knicks need. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
After 2 very good back to back seasons in 2009 and 2010, Smith regressed in a contract year in 2011. After averaging 15.3 points per game over those two seasons, his scoring dropped to 12.3. NBA players nearing their prime going into contract years are supposed to play their best basketball. J.R. Swish fell off.
Not to mention Smith goes into witness protection during the playoffs. Sure his career average of 12.7 points per game is higher than his regular season totals, but that’s due to a much inflated 2008 playoff campaign where he dropped 18.3 per. The next 3 years his playoff scoring went down to 14.9 ,11.2, and finally 9.8 in his contract year. In his first trip to the playoffs he failed to make a 3 pointer in his first 4 games and was benched for the 5th. His former coach George Karl had this to say about Smith’s decision making on the court after hoisting up ill-advised threes:
“I have no idea what planet that came from.”
“And then, of course the one with eight seconds to go, from 50 feet, I just love the dignity of the game being insulted right in front of me.”
More like J.R. Brick.
Then there’s the off the court headaches. Smith never went to college and didn’t exactly have the best role models coming up in the NBA (I’m talking about you, Allen Iverson), but as a grown man you must be accountable for your actions. Here’s a laundry list of his non-basketball related issues:
- February 2007- Involved in a car accident while driving Carmelo Anthony’s car. Neither player was hurt, but one can only speculate what caused the crash.
- June 2007- Months later, Smith runs a stop sign and crashes his SUV into another car. Not wearing seatbelts, Smith and a passenger were ejected from the car. Smith obviously recovered, but his unfortunate passenger was pronounced dead 2 days later. Luckily for Smith he was not indicted on vehicular manslaughter charges.
- June 2009- Smith serves 24 days in prison of a 90 day sentence related to the previous accident for reckless driving. The NBA suspends him 7 games.
- August 2009- Smith closes his twitter account after being accused of writing in a way that reflected affiliation with the Bloods gang. The jury is still out as to how he could wear the Denver powder blue jersey and remain in good standing with the Bloods.
So it’s clear that J.R. Smith is selfish (I don’t pass but I shoot, right?), is a bad driver (multiple accidents, over 7 speeding tickets and 3 license suspensions), makes bad decisions in crunch time (the anti-Lin) and is possibly gang affiliated. He may have gobs of talent and be “boyz” with Carmelo Anthony, but the last thing the Knicks need is a thug. With the emergence of Jeremy Lin the Knicks finally have something good going in New York.
You wouldn’t ruin a perfectly running Cadillac by putting a spoiler and neon LED lights on it, and that’s exactly what J.R. Smith is. An unnecessary, flashy accessory.