photo via New York Knicks
I know I’m a day late, but the flu knocked me out of the game the past few days. I could barely stand for five seconds without feeling like I stepped in a ring with Muhammad Ali. But I’m slowly on the mend and couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t at least attempt to channel my low low energy into a blog update paying respect to this year’s NBA Sixth Man of the Year, Earl Joseph Smith III aka J.R. Smith.
Yesterday, the NBA formally blew the lid off the second worst kept secret (LeBron winning MVP is the first) and awarded the Knicks guard with the well-deserved award. The NBA also complied a video of Smith’s Top 10 plays from the regular season in which he averaged 18.1 points, second-best on the team behind Carmelo Anthony, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 33.5 minutes per game. He also shot 42.2% from the field and 35.6% on three-pointers. I’ve posted the video below, but felt it didn’t do Smith justice so I posted another, more diverse reel that better showcases all of Smith’s abilities — acrobatic drives to the basket, ball handling skills, breaking down defenders, ferocious dunks, lighting it up from beyond the three point line and soooo much more heat.
Culling Smith’s top moments to 10 was a difficult task for the NBA, I’m sure. But after reviewing both videos, I decided my two favorite plays from Smith include the nasty behind-the-back cross-over into a step back jumper over Thabo Sefolosha and one of many Pablo Prigioni to Smith connections. Specifically, the play that continues to blow my mind came against the 76ers. After a typical Prigioni steal, the 6ers responded with a double team. As Prigioni drove to the basket, he dished it off to Smith who trailed so far behind that he wasn’t even visible in the camera frame, yet Smith swooped in, seemingly out of nowhere, and finished the play with a right-handed jam!
No matter how many times I see that play, I always react with my best John Starks impression and ask, “did this dude just did this?”
Indeed he did. Indeed he did. Congrats, JR Swish!