I remember a few months back on my show a Knicks fan attempted to tell me, and apparently his one or two readers of his blog, that Amar’e Stoudemire was seemingly playing well enough to be the National Basketball Associations Sixth Man of the Year…..thinking it was some sort of joke I laughed and told him that if any Knick was going to be in the running for NBA Sixth Man of the Year it would be none other than J.R. Smith. (online source)
Anyhow, enough of the irrational mind numbing ramblings of the begging for web traffic crowd and on with this blog post.
I hadn’t really considered Smith to be a candidate for the National Basketball Associations Sixth Man of the Year….there are times when I wonder if Smith cares very much about basketball, or even himself for that matter. I’ve said over and over that Smith can either shoot a team in or out of a game and there were, and still are, times that I wish the Knicks would have traded him. At one point of the season I dropped Smith from my Fantasy Team because he was simply too inconsistent.
In truth I thought the NBA Sixth Man of the Year was a two man race between the LA Clippers Jamal Crawford and the Golden State Warriors Jarett Jack (okay, you can add Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Martin to the list if you’d like).and to be perfectly honest with you I wouldn’t be surprised if either Crawford or Jack wins the award….
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Smith is far more important to the Knicks than the other fella’s are to their teams.
In case you haven’t noticed, the Knicks are on a 10 game winning streak….eight of those wins have been without All-Star Center Tyson Chandler and former All-Star Stoudemire….in fact the streak began in Utah without MVP candidate Carmelo Anthony as well. Neither Crawford, nor Jack or Martin has been asked to shoulder the majority of the scoring load the way that Smith has. Neither has any of them come through the way that Smith has either.
While Martin, Crawford and Jack are great complements to their teams Smith is an integral part of his and without him on the floor every night (he’s played in every game this season) I don’t think the Knicks would be where they are today.
During this 10 game winning streak Smith has been on fire….he’s currently averaging 23.2 points per game by taking less wild and crazy shots and focusing his attention on getting to the cup for higher percentage shots….the Miami Heat recognized this so much they double teamed Smith and teammate Carmelo Anthony went for 50 points…Smith is also averaging 5.9 rebounds during this streak as well.
Unless you are a blogger searching for web traffic 10 games do not a season nor a NBA Sixth Man make…..so what has Smith done besides this 10 game streak? Glad you asked. Check out the chart below from Basket-Ball Reference and see for yourself;
As you can clearly see Smith is posting career highs in field goals (463) shooting percentage (41%), rebounds (5.2) points per game (17.6) free throw attempts (3.1) and minutes played (33.1). His numbers are truly impressive for someone most thought would languish at the end of Head Coach Mike Woodson’s bench due to his much maligned defensive skills and his erratic behavior both on and off the court.
Let’s be fair and have a look at the season Jamal Crawford is having;
As you can see Crawford plays 29 minutes per game, averages 16.7 points per game and only 1.6 rebounds per game. While Crawford plays an important role that spearheads a potent Clipper bench and did help lead his team to a 17 game winning streak earlier in the season his stats are nowhere near where Smith’s are and in my humble opinion Crawford isn’t even close to Smith in importance to his team.
Unlike the flip-flopping blogger cited at the beginning of this posting, I’m not so sure Smith is the best 2.8 million dollars the Knicks have ever spent as I don’t know how many times the Knicks have spent 2.8 million dollars but one thing I do know and that is this;
J.R. Smith has earned the right to have his name in the conversation for NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year and my opinion he should win this award hands down.