Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 5/13/13
It goes without saying that J.R. Smith has not been the same player in the playoffs that he was in the regular season, when he averaged 18.1 points off the bench and earned the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award. Calling him a “no-show” lately would be generous. At least if he were a no-show, his effect on the Knicks would be neutral. Instead, he is starting to outright hurt their cause. In the past three days, illness has added to insult for the 27-year-old guard. Smith played just under 25 minutes in the Knicks’ Game 3 loss on Saturday, then missed practice Sunday and Monday with what the team termed an “illness.” It is unclear what type of illness he has. So far, it does not appear Smith has been subjected to any Luol Deng-type spinal taps. No one is questioning whether Smith is injured, just as very few people doubt that Bulls guard Derrick Rose really is hurt. But like Rose, who has not played since tearing his ACL more than a year ago, Smith is starting to hear murmurs that health might not be all there is to the story. Rumors of Smith dating Rihanna and spending a night on the town prior to Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals are low-hanging fruit. Smith’s poor play predates that night, as Smith has been off his game since he was suspended for Game 4 of the first round. As Frank Isola of the New York Daily News notes, Smith has spoken to the media twice in the past week and has not tweeted since May 6, despite previously active Twitter fingers. (He is the type who tweets #greatmorningworld every day, for instance.) I do believe J.R. Smith is not feeling well but the Knicks are also doing everything they can to limit his media availability.— Frank Isola (@FisolaNYDN) May 13, 2013 Knicks coach Mike Woodson has not been shy in recent days of saying Smith would sit if other bench players are playing better. Proven shooters have gone through cold spells before and have snapped out of it when the time was right. Mike Miller was basically out of the rotation for the Heat last year, having missed 12 of his last 13 threes, before going 7-for-8 from beyond the arc in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Miller was not in ideal physical shape, either, so there is hope for Smith. Then again, everyone knew what the issue was with Miller. His body was basically broken. With Smith, we know he is struggling and that he is not feeling well. His relative silence, however, makes us wonder what else is keeping the Knicks’ X-factor from being all he can be. If the public is in the dark, the Knicks had better have some inkling, for their part. If they do not figure it out soon, Smith won’t be the only Knick feeling sick to his stomach. Have a question for Ben Watanabe? Send it to him via Twitter at @BenjeeBallgame or send it here.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Mets pitcher Jenrry Mejia becomes first player ever banned by MLB for PEDs

Eight bold predictions for NBA All-Star Weekend

Iowa athletics department under federal civil rights investigation

2016 Naismith Hall of Fame finalists announced

Hasselbeck ‘strongly leaning towards playing’ in 18th season

Pitchers to wear new protective headwear in spring training

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Klay Thompson: Warriors will shoot for all-time wins record

Bryce Harper 'squashed' beef with Jonathan Papelbon

WWE has record revenue despite perceived troubles

CC Sabathia declares himself ‘ready to go’ after alcohol rehab

Report: Suns still want to deal Morris before trade deadline

Report: Celtics could offer best deal for Dwight Howard

The market for forwards may shape the NHL trade deadline

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

The most intriguing NBA story lines for the rest of the season

Report: Timberwolves ‘lament’ Andrew Wiggins missing weight-lifting sessions

Kevin Durant to the Warriors makes little sense

City of Atlanta, Braves fighting over iconic Hank Aaron statue

Brock Osweiler hopes to remain part of ‘very special’ Broncos

Kobe Bryant receives great gift from ‘media’ member

Ranking the best NBA/ABA Dunk Contests ever

LeBron to be immortalized with Akron Zips bobblehead

Four best free-agent destinations for Matt Forte

Five reasons Oregon will be the sexiest team in March Madness

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker