Tag Archives: JR Smith

JR Smith’s Wise Decision

By: Prad

JR Smith
JR Smith

JR Smith signed a four year deal worth $24.7 million to stay in New York with the Knicks. The fourth and final year of the contract he  signed includes a player option, which when exercised is $7 million. The Sixth Man of the Year had a career year last season when he averaged 18.1 points and 5.3 rebounds a game, both career highs. He only made $2.8 million during his breakout season though. The Knicks owned his early bird rights and were offering him the maximum that they could. Smith was definitely getting offers from other teams but was not offered as much as New York offered him. This is in part to his lackluster performance during the postseason. He shot an inefficient 33.1% from the field and 27.3% from the 3-point arc. His inconsistency coupled with his desire to chuck up a large volume of shots made some teams shy away during this offseason. However, Coach Mike Woodson allows him to be as aggressive as he wants as he leads the reserves. He thrives in an environment where he is allowed to be the primary scorer in a unit.

JR Smith and Carmelo Anthony
JR Smith and Carmelo Anthony

The landscape of the team will change next year though. JR Smith is searching for a job in the starting lineup next season. But, he might not be as effective because Carmelo Anthony takes the bulk of shots for the Knicks’ starting unit. He might be constrained in the number of shots he takes when Melo is on the floor. This will lower his overall points averages, but I look for him to become more efficient and intelligent with his shot decisions. This year, he put up many low probability shots because he was supposed to take a majority of the shots when the starting lineup was on the bench. With Melo on the floor, he will want his shot attempts to count and not simply be wasted.

Last Season's Knicks Bench
Last Season’s Knicks Bench

This season, Smith didn’t start in any of the 80 games he played in, but played starter minutes, 33.5, which is also a career high. The Knicks second unit might not be as aggressive next year with no viable consistent scorer unless Amar’e Stoudemire or Andrea Bargnani comes off and leads the bench. But, this is very likely because only one of the power forwards can start and Carmelo can’t move to any guard position. The Knicks can’t rely on them for the duration of a full season since both of them have had a difficult time staying healthy in the last couple of seasons. I thought that the Knicks drafted Tim Hardaway Jr. because they believed that Smith would leave the Big Apple. Perhaps Hardaway could be a major factor on the bench and hover around the 25 minutes range each game. Hardaway needs a bit more development in creating his own shot before he can crack the starting lineup but he can definitely produce solid numbers on the bench until then. Him along with an exciting Iman Shumpert makes the Knicks’ bench more youthful and legitimate.

Ultimately, JR Smith made a smart move by signing with the Knicks because he doesn’t necessarily do well in other systems and wouldn’t have gotten as much money as he did because of his noted inconsistency.

All Statistics and Pictures from ESPN

NY Knicks Offseason Needs

By: Prad

JR Smith
JR Smith

1) Re-sign J.R. Smith

This is by far the single most important thing Glen Grunwald needs to do this offseason. Although J.R. Smith was terribly inefficient in the post season, his value in the regular season can’t be overstated. He averaged the second most points on the team, 18.1 to along with 5.3 boards a game. His lackluster performance in the postseason this year surely will make him fewer millions than he could’ve had he continued his outstanding play into the playoffs. Some critics say that Smith will not experience the same success that he experienced this year anywhere including New York. But, I believe that he worked well in the Knicks system under Mike Woodson where he led the second unit and was allowed to take a high volume of shots. He thrives in this system where he has the ability to work for his own shot and ends many possessions with his shots. This can continue if he decides to re-sign with the Knicks. The Knicks will offer him approximately $5.5 million because they own his Early Bird Rights. The Knicks would love to re-sign Smith, as they don’t have another secondary scoring option after Carmelo Anthony.

2) Sign a couple big men

I believe attaining another big man is essential. The Knicks could’ve probably done better in the draft but I don’t blame them with the selection they made. They drafted Tim Hardaway Jr. who is a talented and fantastic shooter that can create of the dribble. If the Knicks don’t manage to sign J.R., I think that Hardaway would be a great replacement once he develops his skills a bit more in a few years. But, the fact is that Tyson Chandler and Amar’e Stoudemire are the only true big men the Knicks currently have on the roster. Kenyon Martin played solid bench minutes for the Knicks in the playoffs, but he’s not a long term option. Stoudemire gets injured often, so Chandler is the defensive anchor and the only player on the team who plays like a big man. The Knicks are in great need of a couple big men to play reserve minutes as backups to Melo in the power forward position and Chandler at center. A player that is physical inside and who has the ability to rebound well would be ideal but it will be hard with the Knicks inflexibility in cap space.

Kenyon Martin
Kenyon Martin

3) Re-sign Kmart and Pablo Prigioni

Although Prigioni was a rookie last year in the NBA, he is a veteran in terms of experience. I mean he’s 35. He can help teach young guards how to fit well into the Knicks system under Coach Woodson. He adjusted fairly well into the system his first year. In fact, when he was inserted into the starting lineup, the Knicks won 13 consecutive games. He is noted for his persistence in attempting to steal the ball at all times when on the court. Kenyon Martin provided valuable minutes off the bench for the Knicks late in the regular season and during the playoffs. He had the most efficient season of his career, shooting 60.2%. Though he’s 35, he can still provide around 25 MPG.

Pablo Prigioni
Pablo Prigioni

All Stats and Pictures from ESPN

NY Knicks Secondary Scoring Option

By: Prad, THE New York Knicks Fan

JR Smith
JR Smith

JR Smith will most likely not wear a New York Knick uniform next year. Since JR Smith opted out of his contract, the Knicks need to fill his void if he decides not to re-sign. From a Knicks fan perspective: “give him everything he wants and literally match any offer. Without him we’re not getting close to advancing out of the first round.” Glen Grunwald’s perspective is probably completely different though. This is the harsh reality that Knick fans must face. The Knicks don’t exactly have too many good options at replacing the Knicks secondary scorer after Carmelo Anthony. Amar’e Stoudemire, Steve Novak, Ray Felton, and Iman Shumpert all come to mind as possible candidates. Although Tyson Chandler is one of the best defenders in the NBA, he is void of any offensive talent. His high field goal percentage is in part because every other shot he takes is a dunk. This is also assuming that Chris Copeland, the three point specialist, doesn’t re-sign. Last season, he produced 8.7 PPG but in a very limited capacity (15.4 MPG). No matter how inefficient JR Smith was in the postseason, this year’s regular season was his coming out party, averaging 18.3 points and 5.3 rebounds in his sixth man role. In order for the Knicks to even reach the Eastern Conference Semi Finals again, another Knick needs to step up and accept the challenge.

Amar'e Stoudemire
Amar’e Stoudemire

Amar’e Stoudemire’s Case

STAT was paid more than Tyson Chandler this year and about half a million less than Carmelo Anthony and is going to be paid more than either next year. It’s a combined total of $41,628,692 with another $23,410,988 coming his way during the 2014/2015 NBA season. Yet, injuries have derailed him the last couple season. He played in 29 games and has averaged 23.5 MPG and 14.2 PPG. His first season in New York, 2010 was his best when he averaged 25.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks a game. His numbers were actually a little higher until the February of that season, when Carmelo came to the Knicks. Critics of the trade say that Melo and STAT can’t coexist and it has been proven in the last two and a half years. They have a point: Amar’e has averaged fewer numbers each subsequent season and his worst season in NY was last, 14.2 PPG and 5.0 RPG. But, what these seemingly knowledgeable critics haven’t accounted for, is Stoudemire’s limited play due to injuries. In the last two seasons, injuries have derailed his playing time to the point of him only playing 76 games and the latter 29 saw him not starting. So, it’s not a matter of them not coexisting but an alternate factor comes into play. If Stoudemire played 36 minutes last season, which he’s done a few times in his career, he could’ve scored around 21 PPG. But, because of his injuries, I don’t look to him performing and taking on a scoring burden next season. Stoudemire will most probably never be the same player that we saw in 2010.

Steve Novak
Steve Novak

Steve Novak’s Case

Novak is a great and an efficient three point shooter who led the league in three point efficiency a couple years ago. Beyond that he sucks. His defense is poor because of his athletic ability and qualities. He lacks speed, strength, agility, and toughness. He can’t pass or grab boards. He averages 1.9 RPG and 0.4 APG in 20.3 minutes. The rebounding stat is pretty heinous considering he is 6 foot 10.  His scoring beyond the three is not that great. He only averages 6.6 points a game. He’ll be lucky if he could even score half of what the eventual secondary scorer will attain. It was my mistake for even putting him in this discussion.

Raymond Felton
Raymond Felton

Raymond Felton’s Case

I think Ray Felton is the most viable candidate to take on the job. He is the current starting point guard who touches the ball every possession down the court. He averaged 13.9 PPG and 5.5 APG this past season. He brings a lot of energy to the team, but might get too excited sometimes. He decides to take layups at inappropriate times when there might be two big men in the paint. Not surprisingly, he is one of the most blocked players on the team. This questionable play calling might be him channeling his inner JR Smith. His physical fitness was in much question a couple seasons ago but has improved tremendously this season and look for him to improve even more in agility and speed for this upcoming season. During his first stint with the Knicks, he averaged 17.1 points, 9.0 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.8 steals per game in 38.4 minutes a game. Unfortunately for him, Felton was a part of the massive Carmelo deal and got dealt to the Nuggets. Hopefully, he can put up these kind of numbers next season without a selfish JR Smith. He has proven though that he can thrive in a Knicks system and I look to him to step up to the challenge and have a much better season next year.

Iman Shumpert
Iman Shumpert

Iman Shumpert’s Case

I think he’s the most exciting prospect to become a bigger scorer and have a bigger role in the Knicks offseason. Everything about him excites me, his athleticism, ability to knock down threes (39.6%), perimeter defense, and high top fade. Shump came back from a torn ACL this year and played bench minutes (22.1 MPG) but will definitely become more productive next year. Yet, it’s ambiguous how much of an immediate improvement and impact we’ll see from him next season. But, he is definitely an integral part of the Knick future.

Melo clearly needs a partner to help the Knicks go deeper in the playoffs. We all know that he has his streaks that can span quarters, games, and even series. But, the other times when his shot isn’t falling or on the bench, he needs somebody to take over the offense. After all, he averaged 37 minutes a game this past season. The other time, worth almost a quarter was when JR Smith got a large chunk of his points and when he was the primary scorer in the second unit. I’m only hoping that another secondary scorer doesn’t have to be selected and the Knicks can hold on to Smith because of the Knicks’ lack of options.

All Stats and Pictures are from ESPN