Season Averages: 12.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 2.4 APG
Season Highlight: J.R Smith was a streaky shooter for the Knicks this season, but there’s definitely some games that stand out. The Knicks hosted the Boston Celtics in one of their last home games of the regular season, and J.R. Smith and Steve Novak went absolutely crazy from beyond the arc. Smith tied his season-high of 7 3-pointers, shooting 7-10 from downtown to go along with Novak’s 8-10 shooting from 3-point land. J.R. finished the night with a season-high 25 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds in the 118-110 win. It’s also worth noting Smith’s performance down the stretch on March 26th in a must-win game vs. the Bucks. J.R. had a weak shooting performance, going just 3-13 from the field, but Woodson instilled confidence in him by keeping him in the game. Turns out, it was a good move. Smith hit a couple of clutch jumpers in the final minutes to close the game out and give the Knicks an 89-80 victory in Milwaukee.
Season Lowlight: J.R’s worst performance of the season came on March 30th in Atlanta. In Mike Woodson’s first return to the Phillips Arena since the Hawks chose not to re-sign him in 2010, Smith shot just 2-10 (20%) in 33 minutes of play. He finished with just 5 points, 3 rebounds and was a non-factor in the 90-100 loss.
Final Judgement: Through the shooting struggles and tweet scandals, J.R. Smith is still a solid player to have on any bench in the NBA. He brings energy, athleticism and tenacity every time he steps on the court- and most of the time, that’s what a team needs when things aren’t going as planned. Following several injuries, Smith was asked to play a bigger role than he expected when signing on with New York, so technically we can’t compare his performance this season and how he’ll impact the team next year. Given a smaller role, I think Smith can really dominate next season and be a valuable weapon to this Knicks squad.
What’s Next: J.R. Smith must notify the Knicks if we will opt out of the final year of his $2.5 million dollar contract by June 26th, so only time will tell if he will return as a knickerbocker. Even after tweeting that he may leave New York, a source said that he is leaning toward staying with the Knicks. It’s even been reported recently that Earl, J.R’s dad, is going to make a strong case for him to stay in the Big Apple. But does New York want him?
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