J.R’s Maturation as a Player:
J.R. Smith has always been an interesting but polarizing NBA character. From the Hornets to the Nuggets all the way to China and now apart of the New York Knicks, J.R. has had his great moments and some really head scratching moments. However, the last few weeks and especially during the Knicks current 6 game winning streak, JR has been playing like an All-Star. I know All-Star’s build a resume over a season or so, but J.R. might have turned the corner this year, maybe for a brief moment or possibly for the rest of his career. It is a strong possibility J.R. Smith has figured out his game and might become an NBA Star in the near future.
J.R. Smith over the last 2 weeks has let the game come to him in the form of patience. He has taken better shots in the flow of the game, while letting the game come to him on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. He has a complete balance of game at this moment, resulting in an awesome display of scoring. How does he score? Driving to the hole, mid-range jumper and spot up three’s. A complete balanced attack in every way.
On offensive rebounds he pulls the ball out for a better possession instead of chucking up terrible shots like in the past. Most importantly, J.R. drives the ball to the basket now for layups, takes hard fouls and gets to the line on a regular basis. That balance of outside-inside offense has changed J.R. as a player and the Knicks team as a whole.
His metamorphosis has been a pleasure to watch. I am not sure this is something that will stick for the rest of the season, the playoffs or for the rest of his career, but I do know that Mr. Smith is tearing up the league right now with a balanced attack on both ends of the court. Has he matured as a player under the tutelage of Head Coach Mike Woodson? It certainly looks like J.R. has become a better person, player and man since the arrival of Woody as head coach.
Big Decisions for J.R:
The real question is, how long will this last and how far can he take the Knicks? However, the most powerful and important question is, where will J.R. go when he becomes a free agent this summer? Will he re-sign with NY for a modest salary like he has the past 2 years, go for the big money away from the New York or meet some where in the middle and continue his outstanding play at MSG and apart of the New York Knicks quest for a championship.
J.R. Smith‘s outstanding play might be the catalyst for a big payday and unfortunately an end of a interesting relationship in New York. Lets hope not!