According to multiple sources that probably wouldn’t get something like this wrong, JR Smith has been suspended five games for violating the NBA’s substance abuse policy.
The NBA says Smith’s suspension will commence from whenever he is deemed physically able to play. Smith is currently recovering from a pair of minor knee surgeries conducted in mid July.
As multiple-game suspensions are typically only wielded after a player has failed multiple drug tests, logic has it that JR botched his wiz quiz at least three times.
Which naturally invites the question: Is that decision made by league doctors, or team doctors? If it’s the latter, what’s to stop them from clearing Smith two days before the start of the season, even if, in reality, he’s only 75 or 80%. Is that allowed?
I don’t know. I don’t know anything anymore. I feel betrayed.
No I don’t.
I’ll leave it to the peanut gallery to sort out whether this is a) simply JR being JR, b) a frustrating episode in what has otherwise been a slowly-unfolding story of redemption, c) a clear sign that JR is out of control, has a significant addiction, and should seek professional, ongoing help immediately. Maybe none of the above. Maybe all three at once.
Following his dismal Playoff performance this spring, rumors abound that JR’s late night ways — partying til 4am bloodshot-eyed all the while — were negatively impacting what by all accounts had been Smith’s best season to date, and the Sixth Man award and bevy of career-high that were its highlights.
Despite the relatively short suspension, the Knicks will doubtless miss the mercurial Earl, who emerged as the team’s secondary scorer and the offensive focal point of a number of secondary units a season ago.
Iman Shumpert, Metta World Peace, Beno Udrih, even rookie Tim Hardaway, Jr. — all of these guys will be asked to step up in Smith’s absence. Which, given the unpredictable nature of his injury, might well have been the case anyway.
Still, this isn’t the kind of circus you want swirling around all the talk — however absurd — of contending for a title.
As it appears to be simple matter of giggle twig overindulgence, maybe it’s not that big of a deal.
Then again, Michael Beasley.
Indeed, it’s not the offense itself that’s worrisome; multiple players have been on the record stating that a vast majority of the league takes in the occasional toke. Rather, it’s the increasingly cavalier nature of Smith’s behavior, and what it suggests about his current mental state — and the possibility of other substances being involved — at which we’re right to bristle.
The NBA has long approached marijuana use the way most major American cities treat prostitution: so long as you’re not handing over a briefcase full of money with dollar bills spewing out the side to a naked woman who then has sex with you in the middle of a highway median during rush hour, you’re probably fine.
Sprinkle chunks of ganja cookies over your Cap’N Crunch every morning?* You’re kinda asking for it.