J.R. Smith‘s performance on the court has been terrible. Smith has made only nine shots over the course of his last five games while hoisting up 36 attempts. The New York Knicks can’t afford to keep playing him more than 20 minutes a game, but they seem compelled to stick with him even though he is hurting the team with his play and his attitude.
Smith has earned a well-deserved reputation for being one of the streakiest shooters in the NBA, but his style of play won him the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award last season. Unfortunately, his stellar play has not carried over into this season, and he has been outplayed by rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. lately.
New York seems to be holding out, waiting for Smith to hit another hot streak, but his play has made it tough for the Knicks to win games. He scored only five points combined in two games versus the Boston Celtics last week, and had he performed better, the Knicks may have had a chance to win the second matchup.
There is rumored to be a rift developing between Smith and coach Mike Woodson over comments Smith made to Woodson on the bench during a game versus the Chicago Bulls, so the Knicks should play Hardaway Jr. more minutes until Smith gets his act together. Smith signed a three-year deal with the Knicks worth almost $18 million this offseason, but New York should begin contacting teams for a trade immediately.
In the meantime, Smith needs to sit so that New York can begin their climb back into the playoff picture.