Chris Smith has absolutely no business making the New York Knicks’ 2013-14 roster.
He’s been outplayed by each one of N.Y.’s other guards this preseason, including Beno Udrih and Toure Murry, and has struggled in the slim amount of on-court action that he’s seen.
The only problem is that the former Louisville Cardinal’s brother, J.R. Smith, is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year and one of the most important players on the Knicks.
According to Mike Woodson, Chris’ shot to make the final cut is bolstered by his older brother’s presence on the team.
“I look at him just like I look at J.R…I have a great deal of respect for that family,” Woodson told the New York Daily News. “That’s his brother. I respect that. We got to make some decisions. What those decisions will be, I don’t know.”
To sacrifice a roster spot simply because of a certain player’s family tree is ridiculous. Throw in the fact that the relative keeping Smith alive made under 30 percent of his shots in the second round of the 2013 playoffs and then got suspended for the first five games of the regular season for repeated drug test violations, and it becomes downright absurd.
If Chris Smith was a standout and proved himself to be worthy of a roster spot, there would be no problem at all in New York keeping him, even over an equally deserving player.
But his numbers have been borderline awful. In three preseason games, the younger Smith has accumulated just three points and two assists in 20 minutes of total action. Over the summer, he averaged five points a game while shooting a J.R.-esque 22 percent from the field.
Would it be fair to take Murry’s spot away from him after dropping over 10 points a game this preseason? What about Udrih, who’s averaging nearly 10 points and five assists?
Woodson hasn’t even been playing Smith more than seven minutes a night, and in that time he’s proven to be unfit for a Knicks roster that is already overloaded in the backcourt. How can he be expected to make any kind of impact in the regular season?
Well, to be blunt (pun intended, J.R.), he can’t. In all likelihood, he’ll be dropped into the Developmental League and have no influence on New York’s regular season.
Nonetheless, the Knicks are inexplicably entertaining the possibility of keeping him.
“He’s still in the mix,” Woodson said of the former Cardinal. “That’s something else we have to sit and talk about tomorrow in terms of the direction we want to go.”
Keeping the younger Smith just because he’s J.R.’s brother will not only be unfair to players who have rightfully earned a spot, but an awful basketball decision by the Knicks front office.
For some strange reason, N.Y. seems to be giving an awful lot of power to a guy followed an awful playoff performance with a knee surgery and suspension over the summer.