J.R. Smith is coming off winning NBA Sixth Man of the Year for the first time in his career. Smith had a fantastic year, averaging 33.5 minutes per game off the bench, 18.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, and 1.3 steals per game, while shooting 42% from the field and 35% from downtown. As Smith becomes the first Knick to win the the award since John Stark in 1997, here’s a look at the dynamic guard’s top five players of the season:
5.) Two-handed jam vs. Utah Jazz:
Smith’s favorite time to bust out his best moves is garbage time. Without fail, Smith always delivers some type of highlight play when the game’s fate has already been sealed, usually in the Knicks’ favor. In a home blowout of the Jazz this spring, Smith took to the rack with a stylish, two-hand smash.
4.) Game-winner in Charlotte:
Despite Carmelo Anthony’s reputation as a top closer in the game, Smith came up with a number of big shots at the end of games this year, and his buzzer-beater over tight defense from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was pretty spectacular.
3.) Explosion vs. Oklahoma City Thunder:
When the Knicks welcomed the Thunder into town, the outcome didn’t look good for the Knicks. Carmelo Anthony was sitting out after injuring his knee, and the Knicks had been playing mediocre ball for the last month and a half. However, short-handed against an excellent Thunder squad, J.R. Smith delivered an electric offensive performance. The Knicks lost the game, and Smith actually missed the game-winner, but he carried the team for most of the game and treated fans to some tantalizing moves.
2.) Alley-oop vs. San Antonio Spurs
Smith’s best blowout shenanigans came in a home stomping of the Spurs. As the Knicks pushed the lead towards 20 in the final quarter, Smith rose up for an absurdly athletic, reverse alley-oop that set the Garden ablaze.
1.) Game-winner over Phoenix
This game-winner buzzer-beater takes precedence over the one in Charlotte because of the surrounding circumstances. The Knicks lost to the Lakers the night before, were without Carmelo Anthony the whole game, and needed two big buckets from Smith, plus a defensive stop in order to take home the win. The sheer difficult of the catch, turn, and shot is admirable, too.
It’s been quite the season for J.R!