New York Knicks: What to Make of Mike Woodson's Latest Benching of J.R. Smith

By Shane Phillips
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

As the New York Knicks fell to the Charlotte Bobcats Tuesday night, J.R. Smith could only watch in hopeless frustration. Only two games after being benched against the Miami Heat for his immature shoe lace antics, Smith found himself in the same predicament. However, this time the reasoning behind his punishment wasn’t clear and Mike Woodson did little to clarify after the game.

It was a strange turn of events for the quirky and arrogant guard. He was fined $50,000 by the NBA last week for trying to untie Shawn Marion’s and Greg Monroe’s shoes on separate occasions. Coach Woodson followed through with a punishment of his own, benching Smith as the Knicks got an impressive victory over the Heat.

Smith returned for the next two games and performed relatively well compared to the season he has been having. The reigning Sixth Man seemed to have learned from Woodson, scoring 14 points and six assists in the victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. Smith followed up the performance with a 10-point outing as the Knicks defeated the Phoenix Suns.

The benching Tuesday night came as a big surprise for Smith and fans. Woodson refused to talk about the shooting guard after the game. It has been reported that Smith was late to a team meeting and had been displeased with his playing time in the win over the Suns, leading to Woodson’s decision to bench Smith Tuesday night.

Smith’s disgust with Woodson has grown over the course of the last week, as well as the other way around. The Knicks organization has also developed frustrations over Smith’s on and off the court issues. With all of this head butting and disagreements, someone has to give at some point. New York seems to be turning around, winning five of its last six games. That only secures Woodson’s position and puts more pressure on the franchise to trade Smith. If Smith and Woodson continue their dysfunctional relationship, one of them has to leave and it will probably be Smith.

Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for Follow Shane on Twitter @Smphil01, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at with any questions, comments, concerns or thoughts.

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