J. R. Smith‘s fall from grace has been a swift kick, kind of like the discipline the immature player needs. After earning the NBA‘s Sixth Man of the Year award last season, Smith has become a massive headache and laughingstock. This season alone he has been suspended five games and fined a total of $105,000 by the league. The suspension was due to a failed drug test and the fines have piled up from inappropriate social media conduct and his latest on-court shenanigans.
Smith attempted to untie an opponent’s shoe at the free throw line for consecutive games, leading to a $50,000 fine. The incidents also earned Smith a cold spot on the bench as coach Mike Woodson decided to sit the troubled young man for the New York Knicks‘ win over the Miami Heat.
It was an impressive win for a team that has underachieved all season and that has also been ravaged by injuries. Despite a limited roster, Woodson never turned to Smith and instead gave Tim Hardaway Jr. an extended role. After the win, Woodson refused to answer any questions regarding Smith and the decision to bench him, insisting that reporters stick to questions about the game.
The recent developments in the downward spiral of Smith indicate that his time with the Knicks is coming to an end. Woodson and the organization have had enough of Smith’s childish antics and his inability to process his past mistakes. On top of his stupidity, Smith is only shooting 35 percent from the field on the season, making it even tougher for New York to convince another team to take him.
It seems clear that Smith is the “bad blood” in the Knicks’ locker room, and it only takes one player to bring down an entire team. Luckily, New York has some time before the trade deadline to try to find suitor for Smith. However, not many teams are going to be interested in a shooting guard that is shooting 35 percent and is more interested in untying opponents’ shoes than winning games.
Maybe Smith will wise up and work things out with Woodson, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up. Woodson has given more than enough chances to Smith, and it looks like he has finally been pushed to far. If the win over the defending champions is any indication, the Knicks look much better without Smith. Get rid of him now while you have the chance!