JR Smith has been through a lot. He was one of the few responsible for the late push the New York Knicks did in the last 20 games of the season.
The Knicks were in a deep hole and with the rope on their necks they decided to try and get out of it. It didn’t work in the end, but it was fun while it lasted.
The Knicks are going through deep changes within the organization but something that cannot be moved or revamped right away is the roster. Too many contracts still up and low cap space will force the team to play next season with the majority of the roster it did this season.
With the soon-to-be arrival of Steve Kerr as Head Coach, the team will play under Phil Jackson’s system basketball and we have to think about the players that are going to execute this system. Triangle Offense is about moving the ball and getting everyone involved. Triangle praises team effort and sharing.
So what about JR Smith?
Under Mike Woodson, JR Smith tended to play the Carmelo Anthony style of play – Isolation and pick and roll basketball. JR was successful and finished games as the lead scorer a few times. That was because of his sharpshooting and ability to create his own shots. Few players can do that consistently and JR did. More important though is the fact that he showed glimpses of the great basketball player he can be. We saw a few times JR play team basketball, getting assists, getting other players involved, role playing, attacking the basket and still getting his 15-20 points. That’s what the team needs for next season. We saw time and time again Clyde commend J.R. on his efforts on the court and we hope to see that consistently next year.
There’s one small problem though – JR smith tends to be JR Smith off the court. The shooting guard was suspended twice this season. Smoking marijuana and lack of sportsmanship (untying opponents’ shoelaces midgame) caused him to lose a few games. His twitter rants caused some awkward situations within the organization. The media was on him for a long time, and everybody knows what distractions can do for the performance of an already unstable player.
So can he bring it next year? I guess. If the Knicks indeed move in the direction of solid basketball and perfect performance on and off the court, guided by the words of the Zen Master and his disciple head coach (whoever it may be), JR is not going to have many options. Either adjust or bust. Behaving accordingly off the court nothing will stop him on the court.
Everything is possible! Unless he gets traded or something…