Reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith has been a huge disappointment for the New York Knicks this season. While many people believed that he was just slumping early on and would snap out of it, he’s continued to be downright terrible. For the year, Smith is shooting just 34.7 percent from the field and only 34.1 percent from three.
Smith’s struggles continued on Sunday night against the Dallas Mavericks as he netted just seven points in 31 minutes, though he did add seven boards and three assists on the night. However, the rest of the Knicks’ bench came to play and helped New York to 92-80 win over the Mavs.
Kenyon Martin came out and showed a bit of offense that he’s been lacking for most of the season, notching 14 points on 7-8 shooting. Amar’e Stoudemire and Tim Hardaway Jr. also reached double figures on the night and Toure’ Murry was respectable off of the bench as well.
While Carmelo Anthony, Andrea Bargnani and Beno Udrih were also critical components in the Knicks’ victory, their bench coming through was big for them. In fact, their bench is actually a huge part of their success.
One of the things that made the Knicks so successful last season was the fact that they had guys throughout their rotation that could step up and change a game offensively. Particularly with Smith’s struggles, that’s been largely missing in New York this season. For them to keep trying to get on the right track, they are going to need role players to step up and help Melo as he carries this team. If the Knicks’ bench can perform at even close to as high of a level as they played against Dallas, change could be coming for this team.