With New York Knicks fans having gotten used to the fact that being a fan means putting up with the roller coaster ride that is the organization headed by the infamous, James Dolan, Knicks fans have also had their fair share of players who, to put kindly, like to express themselves.
Over the course of the Knicks history, there have been many outspoken players. The most notable player in recent memory being Latrell Sprewell. As much as New York loved Latrell for his personality and charisma he brought to the Garden night in and night out, he may be about to give up his spot to a current Knick, who everyone is sure to know about-. J.R. Smith.
Smith has been a controversial player ever since stepping foot in the NBA and while he can look like an MVP on some nights; he looks like one of the biggest draft busts on others.
With Smith’s most recent offense being suspended for smoking marijuana and failing a test, for the THIRD time, it seems as though he should be made an example of by David Stern and co. But instead he has had his way in the Knicks organization bringing in brother, Chris Smith, onto the 15 man roster.
Chris Smith has been described as a player who is not capable of possessing D-League talent, let alone NBA talent, but instead of working a low end job after his tenure at Louisville, he is a member of one of the most storied basketball franchises, playing in the biggest market in America, all because his big brother seems to be indispensable to the Knicks.
Do not get me wrong, J.R. Smith, is one of the most talented players on his day. He is capable of taking over a game with his skills, which led him to winning the Sixth Man of the Year award a season ago posting an impressive state line of 18.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, and 2.7 apg.
He adds formidable talent to a deep Knicks bench already consisting of Metta World Peace, Kenyon Martin, Beno Udrih and Amar’e Stoudemire. He gives the Knicks depth down number nine, a luxury most NBA teams wish for, but instead of being a player capable of becoming a superstar, he is limited to the role of bench player due to his lack of focus.
With a questionable work ethic to go along with his lackadaisical on court play, Smith perfectly defines the word inconsistent. While most players have a goal to which they strive to work for, Smith, instead opts for the money and out lifestyle that has made him one of the feared free agents. NBA teams are reluctant to find out which JR they were landing, and while Mike Woodson and the Knicks have had a relatively good outcome from the risk, he is by no means the god the Knicks treat him as.
As a matter of fact, Smith should be in debt to the Knicks, not only for giving him what seems to be his final chance to prove himself to the NBA, but also putting up with and attempting to cover up for his many acts of stupidity.
Smith has seemed to revive his once lost career in New York and while the Knicks had access to his early bird rights this offseason, it seemed as though there was still a doubt in the Knicks organization and the mind of their fans, that they would lose their second scoring option to greener, and most likely, wealthier pastures.
J.R. did not jump ship; instead opting to sign a four year deal that would keep him in New York for the foreseeable future.
Smith is the type of player whom you show conditional support towards; in other words you hate it when he doesn’t play, and more often than not, hate it when he’s on the court. While he brings a sense of flair on the court and can easily takeover a game when he’s on his game, he should not be considered indispensable by any means.
He owes New York and the fan base, consistency whether it is on the court or off. New York revived his career, now he has to act like a man and play like one as well.