Quantcast 2013 NBA: NY Knicks


J.R. Smith benched again

New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith, who was benched against the Miami Heat a few games ago after being fined $50,000 for repeatedly untying the shoelaces of players on opposing teams, was benched again Tuesday night in Charlotte as the Knicks fell to the Bobcats, 108-98, snapping their five game winning streak. This came as a surprise to J.R. and NBA fans alike.

Following his benching in Miami, Smith responded with two fairly productive appearances against the Philadelphia 76ers and the Phoenix Suns, in which he scored a combined 24 points on 10-19 shooting, including 3-5 from three point range. Things looked to be headed in the right direction for Smith and his relationship with coach Mike Woodson, until he saw no action in Tuesday’s game. After the game, Smith said that he had no prior knowledge that he would be benched. As the game went on and Woodson neglected to call his number, Smith realized he probably wouldn’t get to take off his warm ups.

When Woodson was asked about his decision to leave Smith on the bench, he said, “I’m not even commenting on J.R. I just didn’t play him tonight.” Both Smith and Woodson are clearly upset with what’s going on. It doesn’t help Woodson that his team lost by 10 to the 16-23 Bobcats when he made the bold, seemingly inexplicable decision to bench Smith.

This isn’t the first time Smith has been angry with the organization. After his younger brother, Chris Smith, was cut from the team (deservedly I might add), Smith implied on Instagram that the Knicks had betrayed him.

The solution to this problem starts with the maturity of Smith. Above all else, J.R. needs to grow up and start acting like a professional. The fact that he continued to try to pull the shoelace stunt after being warned for the incident in Dallas is just plain ridiculous. He even tried to shift the blame to Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard, claiming that Howard did it to him first.

That being said, there have been no reports of inappropriate activities involving Smith since he was fined by the league, begging questions as to why he got benched for a second time. Benching Smith for no apparent reason and losing to the Bobcats doesn’t bode well for improving his behavior. The Knicks are stuck with Smith, since no team would even consider trading for him, at least at the moment.

Smith has said he’s going to make up for his antics with his effort on the court, and he can’t do that if Woodson keeps him on the bench. Smith is a very streaky player, and when he’s hot, the Knicks aren’t half bad. In the two games in between benchings, the Knicks looked like a team that had a pretty good chance of going to the playoffs in the bottom half of the playoff bracket. For now, Woodson should let him play and prove himself, barring another incident, and leave the benching to if and when he fails to break out of his shooting slump.



By: Jason Dobkin
Pro Basketball Fans Writer


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