Imagine being forced to sit on the sideline during a basketball game while the defending champions play a game against your team. Then, imagine receiving a five figure paycheck for not doing your job and having fans everywhere interpret all of this as a disciplinary action from your coach. This is exactly what happened with J.R. Smith in the New York Knicks‘ game with the Miami Heat, but all things considered his “punishment” was nowhere near as severe as it should have been.
Smith has morphed into a disruptive presence in the Knicks’ locker room ever since his elbow incident with Jason Terry in last year’s playoff series against the Boston Celtics. From that point until now, Smith has served a suspension for violating the NBA‘s drug policy in the offseason, been harshly criticized by coach Mike Woodson for his erratic shot selection and most recently displayed some of the most bizarre behavior in league history by repeatedly untying opposing player’s shoes during free throw attempts.
Now Smith obviously has plenty of incentive to conduct himself in a manner that wouldn’t be considered detrimental to the team, but he has chosen to draw unnecessary negative attention to himself. The league rewarded Smith with the Sixth Man of the Year Award after he had the best season of his NBA career, but the success obviously inflated his ego to the point where he thought he could get away with anything.
Hopefully all of this off the wall behavior from Smith isn’t in any way related to the Knicks’ decision to release his brother Chris Smith in favor of Jeremy Tyler, which would be a ridiculous way to react considering the situation. Smith will be joining his brother in the D-League if his antics continue.
New York has decided to punish Smith for now, because the trade market for the troublesome and overpaid shooting guard is nonexistent at this point. This is an excellent example of a player burning all of his bridges, and the Knicks need to suspend Smith to give him some time away from the team so he will truly get the message. Last night, Smith just got to watch the defending champions play basketball from one of the best vantage points in Madison Square Garden.