J.R. Smith is now in his eight season in the NBA, and for most of those season’s you never knew what you were going to get out of Smith. There was the J.R. Smith that could erupt for 30 plus points off the bench, and there was the J.R. Smith that did the total opposite of what his head coach wanted. J.R. still shows a bit of those “Yolo” traits on the court, but it appears that Smith has come into his own with the Knicks playing under Head Coach Mike Woodson.
Smith who is the leading candidate for the Sixth Man Award is averaging 18.1 PPG and 5.3 RPG. With Smith averaging a career high in points and rebounds he has also been vital cog in one the NBA’s best defenses. Smith who should have been an All-Star this season in my opinion is one the main reasons why the Knicks sealed the No.2 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Smith’s uncanny ability to score the ball and his swagger on the court is something that the Knicks needed with Amar’e Stoudemire out for majority of the season due to injury. With offenses keying on Carmelo Anthony the Knicks were in need of a sidekick that could ease some of the scoring burden on Anthony.
Is J.R. Smith the best bargain in the NBA? I would say yes, because he makes 2.8 million dollars this season, which is chump change in the NBA. It is crazy to see players such as Joel Anthony, Hasheem Thabeet, and Luke Walton salaries nearly double of what Smith makes. The playoffs will be here this weekend, and Smith will look to continue his hot play in order for the Knicks to advance past the first round.
The Knicks have not won a playoff series since the 1999-2000 seasons and the Empire State desperately needs to break that woeful streak. We know if the Knicks advance it will have a lot to do with evolution of J.R. Swish.