JR Smith has had a rough season. He missed the first couple of opening games with a suspension of drug problems, and has struggled all year long. After winning the 6th Man of the Year last year, Smith has averaged 13 PPG and 3 APG.
Now, with the Knicks fighting to just make the playoffs, Phil Jackson taking over, and certain Knicks athletes talking off-season, there have been talks of complete remodeling. Of course, this would mean JR Smith would be sent out of New York.
An average fan would immediately want Smith out of New York, but when I looked into the numbers, I saw something very hopeful for Smith.
JR started out the year shooting 37% from the floor with 11 PPG. However, since January 1st, Smith has raised his FG% to higher than 40% each month, and managed to average above 14 PPG the new year. Of course, this is still no where near the numbers from last year, but at least he is averaging above average numbers.
Specifically, the month of March was great for JR, as he averaged 16 PPG, 45% shooting from the floor, 40% from three, and only turned the ball over 1 time per game. Compared to last years numbers, he is averaging a better field goal percentage, a better three point percentage, less turnovers, and only two less points per game.
Finally, the most important component to the story is the success of the Knicks. Since the month of March, when JR started playing much better, the Knicks are 12-5, and have taken over the 8th spot in the East!
The question of JR Smith being traded will finally come down to the playoffs. First off, will the Knicks make the playoffs? Secondly, if they do make the playoffs, can Smith prove his worthiness and not crumble like the past post-season?
In my opinion, I do not believe it is worth the risk. I do not believe it is worth the risk of Smith not working over the summer (Like the past summer), and being detrimental to the team. The Knicks needed JR to play well in the Eastern Semi-Finals last year, work over the off-season, and come back better at the start of the season. Unfortunately, Smith came back worse, and brought a lot of negative attention to the New York Franchise.The Knicks need to rebuild, and I believe that starts with JR Smith.
What do you think? Should the Knicks keep JR? Should the Knicks keep Smith? Comment your opinions in the section below.