Statistical Analysis. Humor. Knicks.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Knicks 102, Heat 92: PRANKS

Miami Heat 92 Final
Recap | Box Score
102 New York Knicks
Andrea Bargnani, PF

42 MIN | 9-13 FG | 1-1 FT | 5 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 19 PTS | +4

HOW HE PLAYED: For a guy who purportedly “forgot” the Knicks were playing the Heat tonight, Bargs was spectacularly efficient in the half-court, leveraging his mid-range game with timely aplomb – even if he’s often so homed-in that he misses wide open cutter(s). The defense was, once again, a stew of spoiled dog meat and New Coke. Still, the nerves seemed just stable enough to put to rest any concerns of a Playoff pants shitting.

HOW HE HONORED J.R.: Told STAT that his friend, Jackie Mason, wanted to meet him after the game at the corner of Broadway and West 254th Street. But that he’d better have a table saw ready to go, or no jokes. He’s still standing there.

Carmelo Anthony, SF

42 MIN | 12-24 FG | 2-3 FT | 8 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 29 PTS | +6

HOW HE PLAYED: It took a bit to brush off the rust, but once he did, Melo was masterful: hitting shots in rhythm, finding cutting and spacing teammates at opportune times, boarding like a beast, and generally exerting his will onto a narrative he somehow knew had gotten away from him. Did a good job on LeBron — who had a great game in his own right — but I’ve long-wondered: Why is it that James pumps the breaks a bit whenever he has Melo one-on-one? Is it an abundance of respect? Deficit of respect? Neither?

Anyway, cut and paste this performance for the remainder – even on average – and there’s no reason why this team can’t be a three-seed.

HOW HE HONORED J.R.: Filled Cole Aldrich’s locker with extremely venomous King Cobras. Reports later surfaced of a Manhattan cabbie picking up a “very tall, polite white man with snakes on his face,” who requested that the driver “Please take me to a doctor. Please. Thank you. Please drive faster, I’m blind. Thank you.”

Kenyon Martin, PF

24 MIN | 3-6 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 7 PTS | 0

HOW HE PLAYED: The very day Mike Woodson justified his use of big lineups to reporters with “The East is big, man,” Kenyon Martin used a severed finger to circle this game on his Yoga Kitty calendar. The numbers don’t jump off the screen, but the moments – a veteran shove here, a stealth swipe and deft possession-saving hook there – were indispensible.

HOW HE HONORED J.R.: Hit Bargnani in the face as hard as he could with a floor buffer – just picked the whole thing up and knocked him out cold. Melo had to pull K-Mart aside and explain what a “prank” is.

Raymond Felton, PG

39 MIN | 6-14 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 14 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 13 PTS | +3

HOW HE PLAYED: Let’s get the foibles out of the way first: Ray wasted no fewer than seven possessions jackhammering the ball on the perimeter late in the shotclock only to initiate the offense in time to fly towards the rim like a condor that’s been shot out of the sky. On the flip side, came up with some huge buckets, and spearheaded a bevy of beautiful possessions out of the pick and roll. Fourteen dimes? Yes’m.

HOW HE HONORED J.R.: During pregame shootaround, shot a spitball right into the eyeball of Jim Todd, who immediately had flashbacks to ‘Nam. As in Putnam, Oklahoma, where Todd was once attacked by a band of meth-addled truck drivers at the local Waffle House.

Iman Shumpert, SG

43 MIN | 4-8 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 3 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 12 PTS | +14

HOW HE PLAYED: Looked in danger of disappearing to the periphery for much of the first, before a third-quarter three-point explosion ignited him and 18,000 screaming souls around him. Had a few bonhead bites on defense, but made up for it with some beastly work on the boards. By the end, he didn’t just look like he belonged – he was acting like it.

HOW HE HONORED J.R.: Covered a five-square-foot parcel in front of Woodson’s office with Crisco and thumbtacks, doused the band-aids in the first aid kit with acetone, replaced the Bactine with a small flame-thrower, switched the emergency button on the office phone to connect to 1-800-SHE-HIMS.

Amar’e Stoudemire, PF

27 MIN | 7-12 FG | 0-2 FT | 11 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 4 TO | 14 PTS | +19

HOW HE PLAYED: Spent waaaaaaaaaay too much effort and energy going after Birdman Anderson – heretofore known as Indian Mystic Grizzly Adams. But even that’s a minor quip in what was, on the whole, a remarkably steady offensive performance. And yet another example of how, for all his lingering limitations on defense, Stat will be a useful commodity if and when Woody finally comes to grips with how righteously fucking absurd his “EAST BIG” mantra really is.

HOW HE HONORED J.R.: Told Bargs that his friend, Pope Francis, wanted to meet him after the game at the corner of Broadway and West 254th Street. But that he’d better have a table saw ready to go, or no elaborate birdhouses. He’s still standing there.

Toure’ Murry, SG

10 MIN | 1-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 0 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 3 PTS | +5

HOW HE PLAYED: If there was one guy I half-expected to spend most of his minutes sliding around the court on pools of his own pee, it was Murry. Color me corrected. Even in limited burn, Toure’ yielded some glorious glimpses: splitting a double team, snatching a transition steal, even hitting a beautiful mid-range jumper. With Felton back in the fold, it’s difficult to say what Murry’s role should be, though we probably all agree it should be more than whatever Woodson says it should be.

HOW HE HONRED J.R.: Gave J.R. a 60-block piggy-back ride back to his apartment, probably.

Tim Hardaway Jr., SG

14 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 5 PTS | -1

HOW HE PLAYED: If anyone’s going to be less affected by the Knicks-Heat history, it’s the son of the dude who SERIOUSLY $%#& TIM HARDAWAY. Got things going with a huge corner three seconds after stepping in, and gave the crowd much-needed life with a freakish put-back slam made all the more incredible by the fact that he looked like he was putting at most 75% effort into jumping.

HOW HE HONORED J.R.: Successfully convinced Felton that the Chris Copeland Honorary Pink Barbie Bag was actually a jetpack that could be activated by telling Yo Mamma jokes to Kenyon Martin. Followed this up by convincing Felton that the Chris Copeland Honorary Pink Barbie Bag replaces blood platelets if eaten.

J.R. Smith, SG DNP COACH’S DECISION MIN | FG | FT | REB | AST | STL | BLK | TO | PTS |

HOW HE PLAYED: Switched out Melo’s inhaler with a can of mace. Jammed a crowbar into the gears of the handicapped elevator. Dropped a bucket full of live lobsters into Darrel Walker’s hot tub. Switched out Tyson’s flu medicine for rubbed-down blue Transformers. Downloaded four gigabytes worth of snuff films onto Felton’s computer. Bought Pablo a round trip ticket to Argentina; the flight went to Pakistan. Planted a spring-loaded grip of heroin needles in Toure’s mailbox. Loosened all the bolts on K-Mart’s Power Ranger Huffy. Bought Felton a $500 gift certificate to the Cheesecake Factory; expired in 2009. Taped over Shump’s most recent demos with sounds of dying pigs and live recordings of Hoobastank. Replaced Beno’s hair gel with melted hot glue sticks. Paid an usher to deliver a note to Paul Simon reading “I think Simon & Garfield and all music from the 90s is hot <3 Kate”. Convinced James Dolan to invest $18 million in a for-profit clown college.

HOW HE HONORED J.R.: Learned how to tie his own shoes.

Mike Woodson

HOW HE COACHED: He was fine.

HOW HE HONRED J.R.: Crop-dusted J.R.

Five Things We Saw

  1. After three early possessions ended in horrendous late-shot clock heaves, cresting the 60-point mark seemed like a reasonable goal. But the Knicks managed to find just enough cracks in Miami’s façade – Melo passing out of the double-team, Felton initiating the P&R, Shump going straight HAM in spite of all logic – to turn the pressure back on the Heat. The end result: 54% shooting against a defense with one of the most devastating on-off switches in recent NBA history. A template to follow, to be sure.
  2. Speaking of which, the Knicks only turned the ball over 10 times. You take that 100 times out of 10. Better still, the Heat only managed 14 points off said cough-ups.
  3. I lost track of all the celebrities in attendance tonight. I remember Kate Upton. And Kate Upton. I think Kate Upton was there. And Paul Upton. Kate Simon. Upton Lee was there. Duchovny Upton. Woody Kate. Mary Kate and Ashley Upton. Upton Holmes. Former President Kate Clevaland. Kate Caeasar. Jesus Upton. Kate Upton was there. Kate Upton. Hi Kate.
  4. We weren’t lights-out from distance by any means, but 9-24 against a team as taut on their rotations as the Heat is found money for sure.
  5. LeBron and Wade were great, and the rest of the Heat were anywhere from pedestrian to downright liabilities. But even Wade — he of 11-15 from the floor — found his own Kryptonite, missing all SIX of his free throw attempts. SIX! ZERO FOR SIX! Miami was 11-21 overall, which is decidedly not good, according to this copy of Nancy Sinatra’s biography I’m holding in my hand.
  6. “Signature win” is one of those loathsome things that gets thrown around, but damn if my sentimentality isn’t getting the best of me tonight. There were injuries on both sides, sure. It’s mid-January in a season measured as much in men down as it is in months, sure. The Heat are playing chess while we’re re-learning to master checkers, fine. But even if this was just managing to move the pawn, that the pain has gone away – even for a night – makes it easier to dream of dawn. And that’s a Knicks prank I can live with.

91 comments on “Knicks 102, Heat 92: PRANKS

  1. ruruland

    Hilarious ‘cap, Jim.

    Really though, the Knicks should be on a 5 game streak having beaten the Spurs, Rockets, Mavs and Heat. That would be impressive for any elite team.

    A few calls/horrible decisions from being about .500 with a great record against the top teams.

  2. ruruland

    That could have been three times as long. Woj didn’t mentionor even allude to all that what went down in New Orleans and Denver.

    It’s tragic, really, and Woj is right. I didn’t think his self-destructive streak was this powerful. I thought he had grown up some. He never will.

  3. knickster

    After a much-needed, deserved and satisfying win, the question is: how soon will Woodson punish a good deed by re-inserting JR in the lineup?

  4. Nick C.

    So I am still waiting for anyone in the media to reference the fact that in their last five games the Knicks have beat the Heat by double figures four times. Robin Lundberg on ESPNradio could only bring himself to say they are playing better. I assume to Post and News will rather gossip about JR. Oh well let’s hope the Knicks can sustain their focus and health.

  5. Hubert

    It’s kind of amazing. All the bad shots, the bad defense, and the overall terrible play didn’t motivate Woodson to bench JR.

    Trying to untie someone’s shoes did.

    Call me a cynic, but I don’t expect it to last. I expect JR to be back JR’ing soon. Maybe not untying shoe laces, but I think his bad shot selection and lapses on defense will continue to be tolerated by the coach. This wasn’t about his play, which Merited benching. It was about his maturity. So if he acts mature, he’ll probably be allowed to continue playing terribly.

  6. massive

    JR Smith’s biggest problem is that he takes advantage of a good situation. He just wants to have fun, and doesn’t care who he hurts in the process, or at least he isn’t aware. It’s a shame, and he knows it. I want the Knicks to bench him for a few games and I want him to watch the team succeed without him. I want him to realize how little worth his current act is with the Knicks, and why it doesn’t need to be tolerated.

  7. Frank O.

    Wojo’s opinion story was great.
    It’s not personal; it merely reflects pretty much what everyone says.
    JR is unscrupulous.

  8. Frank O.

    JR gets to bottom out.
    Part of bottoming out is losing the respect of people around you for having let them down.
    That’s not moralizing. It’s life.

  9. Unreason

    That recap was too funny.
    Attention to JR’s drama is the last thing anyone needs. I hope the team collectively refuses to get sucked in and that he’s quickly cut or traded. I’m glad MWP hasn’t competed with him so far for the wrong kind of attention. I’m also glad that Anthony’s kept a lid on free agency talk after his early season pot-stirring and played like a leader. If they can stay focused on basketball and avoid major injuries, they could start to salvage the season and maybe earn some morsel of respect during this stretch to the AB. Given how embarrassingly bad they’ve been till recently, that could be the start of a fun comeback story.

  10. bocker84

    As strange as it sounds, I really hope that JR ended up in Dolan’s doghouse from everything that’s been going on. With the big win, Dolan could very likely to exert a “keep JR on the bench” decree to Woody (which Woody cannot ignore since he will never argue with Dolan).

    This is honestly the first time that I can say that three wrongs may make a right.

  11. d-mar

    Remember back in early December when we looked ahead at the easy schedule and then proceeded to play basically .500 ball against lousy and mediocre teams? Well, for the rest of January we play a total of 3 teams with winning records.

    So if this truly is a turnaround, then we need to beat all the Bostons and the Clevelands of the world and continue our climb out of this hole.

    Because if we lose games to bad teams, especially at home, then really nothing has changed.

  12. Hubert

    Just a curiosity, who thinks this was:

    a) a motivational tactic to get JR to play better, and he’s still a major part of the team.

    b) a legitimate sea change and a move towards minimizing his role in the team.

    ?

    I think it’s A. I want it to be B. I remember when we benched him in the 4Q vs Atlanta and the team played better and nothing was learned by anyone, we went right back to him. I think that’s going to happen again. I don’t think Coach minds his terrible shot selection and I don’t think he’s ever going to punish his defensive lapses. He wants him to be a man, which is nice. But this isn’t about JR Smith. This team does not exist to help him grow up. We have better basketball players at his position. They should play.

  13. cgreene

    Woj wasn’t moralizing except for the part about the Knicks deserving JR. He was right. We have seen this act play out before so many times. JR Smith is talent wasted. And that’s a tragedy.

  14. UK_Pete

    Following on from what Hubert said I think it speaks volumes that essentially the best basketball decision Woody has made all season (benching JR) has come about for non-basketball reasons!

    Well done Woody but is a pointless exercise if he just re-instates him and gives him 30 minutes a night again, he needs to earn his playing time and shouldn’t be given more than 10-15 a night until his game picks up!

  15. pablopilot

    JR’s minutes should be cut not because he is a silly little boy getting paid a man’s salary, but because he sucks this year. Maybe 10-15′/game would be enough to give him a chance to recover his ability without hurting the team as much as he does in 30′. Who knows, maybe he’d even get a message and work to upgrade his stupid game.

    Honestly all the brouhaha about untying laces would be a passing breeze if JR weren’t such a persistent child-idiot. Who cares? Seems like a silly prank we’d be best to ignore. All the moralizing about someone potentially getting hurt (doubt anyone really believes that) and the laughable league language about “repeating his actions” is just cover for punishing a moron who embarrasses himself and the league on a regular basis. If he were playing well, we’d all laugh this one off. Since he’s playing like warmed-over polar-vortex-frozen dog crap and has hurt the team in all sorts of ways this season (starting with getting suspended), it becomes a big distraction.

  16. johnno

    I love the media coverage. Brian Windhorst’s take is that the Heat weren’t trying very hard. ESPN.com chooses today to run a piece entitled “Miami Heat’s Season of Irrelevance” about how the Heat are sleepwalking through the regular season. But my favorite has to be the headline on SI.com — “Knicks Stun Depleted Heat.” The Heat were apparently depleted because they were playing without Battier and Chalmers. I don’t know about you but I am shocked that the Heat even had the courage to take the court knowing that those guys weren’t available and that they were going to have to rely on stiffs like LeBron, Wade, Bosh and Allen. Seriously, how in the world did the editors at SI.com let that stupid headline sneak onto their site?

  17. Unreason

    …if this truly is a turnaround…

    I agree: way too soon to call it a turnaround. The context is bleak and clear. The bottom 12 EC teams seem better suited to the D league than the NBA. Tanking strategies have been confounded because bad teams can’t play ineptly enough to lose to their even more inept opponents. The East is a joke. And the Knicks, who aren’t tanking, are near the bottom of the dismal heap.

    I wish it weren’t so, but the simplest explanation for the recent Ws is that good teams didn’t take the Knicks seriously and took the night off. It’s great that the Knicks made them pay. I loved each W – except for Detroit. But IMO they have to win a LOT more games before they’ll deserve to be taken seriously. Even a halfway decent team should be dominating in the EC this year.

    At this point it’s difficult to even see the bottom of the hole. But that means climbing their way out will be all the more compelling if they can pull it off.

  18. Hubert

    johnno, don’t know what it said on si.com before, but it has a pretty favorable headline up for us now:

    Knicks beat Heat 102-92, win third straight game

    NEW YORK (AP) They don’t look like the lowly losers of last month. The New York Knicks are playing as if it’s last season – when they even had mighty Miami’s number.

    Carmelo Anthony scored 29 points, Andrea Bargnani had 19, and the Knicks beat the Heat 102-92 on Thursday night for their season-high third straight victory.

    ”You can tell it’s different than one month ago,” Bargnani said. ”Our faces are different, our body language is different.”

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/nba/gameflash/2014/01/09/34114/index.html?eref=sihp#recap

  19. thenamestsam

    Great win, and the Knicks have come through a tough part of the schedule not only unfazed, but in good position (relatively). It’s good to play in a conference where you can be 13-22 and still in great position to not only make the playoffs but get a reasonable seed. We’ve really played the good teams tough all year. The trick now will be to maintain that level against the weaker teams because the schedule for the rest of January is pretty cushy now with only Phoenix at home and Indiana on the road really standing out (Clips at home also, but minus CP3 obviously). Other than a major slip up we should be in the middle of the playoff pack by the time February rolls around.

    As for JR, I think it will be a little bit from Hubert’s option A and a little bit from Option B. I can’t see him ostracized entirely, and honestly I don’t think he should be. Obviously when Shump is going bonkers from downtown and THJ is playing well JR should be firmly at the end of the bench, but neither Shump nor THJ has been exactly the model of consistency this year. JR should be used as what he is – a microwave guy off the bench. Stick him in with a short leash, see if it’s a good night, and then ride him if it is, or plant him back on the pine if it isn’t. Used properly he can still help this team and maybe simultaneously rehabilitate his trade value enough to eventually make him someone else’s problem. All that said, I really do think Woody is starting to realize that wedding yourself to JR is not a recipe for long term success. He not only punished JR, but did it in a way that embarrassed JR as well – not what I’d expect if he meant it solely as a one game thing with JR back in a central position two days later.

  20. DRed

    If we can get Bargnani to inexplicably hotfoot two opposing players and get benched this team might actually start going places.

  21. DRed

    Woj’s article is dickish because of that soft suburban nonsense. JR probably has some sort of serious psychological problems. It’s sad, and it’s not because he’s from the suburbs.

  22. DS

    Pabopilot-

    Agree completely.

    And I think that journalists, fans, and esp. coaches need to look at the immaturity and poor play SEPARATELY, when obviously we tend to judge players character on how they are performing too much.

    If Woody is sending JR a murky message like, “your attitude and effort is poor” it would be impossible for him to make the adjustments he needs to make. If he’s being benched for poor shot selection (as Mr. Topaz identified as his problem http://knickerblogger.net/um-why-is-jr-really-bad-this-year/) then he is learning how he needs to play in order to help the team.

    And as you’re saying, he’s the same moron who was a media darling when he was playing well last year (*unless he has a drug problem that is progressing which I don’t rule out but we can’t know for sure).

  23. ephus

    My read on Woj’s article is that he bought JR’s claims of new-found maturity when they had an extended sit down four years ago immediately after JR’s release from prison. Woj feels burned and he is putting out his tale to warn other sportswriters away from writing the latest iteration of the JR Smith Redemption article.

  24. johnno

    Hubert -
    The headline that you quote is on the SI.com home page. If you click on the NBA link on the top of the home page, the stupid headline appears on the NBA page. Maybe they meant to say “Depleted Knicks Stun Heat.”

  25. Crumple

    Is JR’s shoe untying really any different that DWade throwing Bibby’s sneaker away?

    It’s just a joke and I think many media folks are overly sanctimonious about it.

  26. DS

    DRed – That rubbed me the wrong way too because it was clumsy and mean (“he tries to be the tough kid” or whatever). I do think it’s plausible that JR has learned to skate through life as a star athlete, without having to mature, in a way less privileged players could not because of other life pressures.

  27. johnno

    DRed — I agree with you. I think that there is a real chance that JR does have some type of mental issue — or maybe a serious drug problem. His behavior is not that of a rational but immature individual. It is totally inexplicable. Rational individuals, knowing that they are on the verge of getting suspended, don’t fail drug tests. Rational individuals, after being warned by the league about untying shoes, don’t try the same stunt the next night. He is an extremely talented guy and it would be a real shame if he throws it all away. I, for one, am rooting for him to deal with whatever issues he’s got. What can I say, I’m a sucker for people overcoming problems. It’s one reason that I like MWP so much. He’s a guy with serious mental issues, he’s acknowledged them, and he has done an amazing job overcoming them — and has transformed himself from total lunatic to quirky but likeable guy. I really hope JR is capable of the same transformation. His teammates seem to like him, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he is a good guy with problems, not an asshole.

  28. Frank

    Re: option A and option B — I think it’s actually more B than A. My feeling this whole time is that he and Dolan are tight, which is why the whole Chris Smith fiasco happened, why JR probably felt like he could act like as much of an ass as he wanted to without retribution. But if reports are correct that Steve Mills, Woody, and even JR’s father had an intervention with JR before the Detroit game and he still went out and did that nonsense, then I think it’s quite possible Dolan’s had enough.

    This really might be the best thing for everyone involved. JR needed to know there are consequences to his actions, not just from the league but also from the people that mean something to him. The team needed to put his 20 usage at a TS of 44.8 on the bench. The team and the coach needed to see that yes, they can win games against good opposition without him. And last but not least – he just had major knee surgery and has been complaining about a sore post-op knee — maybe he just needs to sit (or play limited minutes) for a few weeks and just get healthy.

    The truth is — JR says he doesn’t know if he’s part of the Knicks future — well of course he is. He has a 3 year contract that no one will ever take from us without extracting 1st rounds picks or THJ or some other asset that we hopefully would never give up. But with the cutting of his brother and now his benching, hopefully he knows that the gravy train has stopped and that he has to play by the rules like everyone else. And that means being professional especially if you’re playing the worst ball of your career.

    Yeah, re: the SI article – it’s just ridiculous. We played without 2 of our top 3 PGs, without our starting center. They play without Battier (who is great), and their whipping boy Chalmers. For Pete’s sake, it’s not Battier’s fault they couldn’t score on the imposing frontcourt of Amare/Bargnani/Melo or that they kept throwing the ball away.

  29. johnlocke

    good article by Woj. It’s not just him that he’s burned, it’s our entire fanbase. On a team that doesn’t particularly have the highest IQ, he stands out, that’s saying something. Too bad we can’t trade him for an asset, we are in fact stuck. Stuck hoping he wakes up, matures, regains shooting touch, increases his bball IQ. I just hope last night wasn’t a one time scolding. He needs to be held accountable at all times — enough with the coddling. Don’t play him in the 4th quarter or for 30 mpg, if he’s stinking up the joint. Shump and THJ are more than able to replicate what he does + have much higher bb IQs, while trying on defense.

  30. Crumple

    When Melo was out last year it was JR who carried the scoring load. He’s capable of doing that in the NBA and there are maybe 30 guys in the whole league who are?

    He’s still recovering from knee surgery. he’s not all the way back yet.

    He’s a goofball and a horndog and he likes the party but there are worse crimes and I don’t think he deserves the crap he gets.

  31. DRed

    Is JR’s shoe untying really any different that DWade throwing Bibby’s sneaker away?

    It’s just a joke and I think many media folks are overly sanctimonious about it.

    the sneaker thing was pretty harmless, I agree. But when your coach tells you “don’t do that again” and the league says “Don’t do that again” and then the very next time you get on the court you do it again-with Rob Thorn sitting in the fucking stands-you are sending a big fuck you to your bosses. JR is 28 years old. He’s a grown man. But he persists with childishly self-destructive behavior. I dunno-maybe he’s hurt and feels badly that he’s playing like shit and this is his way of forcing the team to bench him. Or maybe he’s just an idiot. I dunno. He doesn’t seem like a malicious person, and he’s very gifted, so it’s sad to see him wasting it all.

    All that being said, Woody is still a moron for having played him so much.

  32. Crumple

    I dunno how these “warnings” went down. JR seemed pretty surprised at the repercussions. Who can take this shit seriously…it’s a fucking joke/prank! This happens all the time in NFL pile ups and no one cries and moans about it.

    He needs to play better basketball I totally agree. But the rest of this is nonsense IMO. I’m glad Woody no commented the whole thing.

  33. Crumple

    just to add all that I wrote above applies SINCE the reckless driving/prison thing. That’s nothing to take lightly OBVIOUSLY.

    I just mean Woj going off like nothing has changed because he ordered room service too much and unties people shoes.

  34. ephus

    DRed — I agree with you. I think that there is a real chance that JR does have some type of mental issue — or maybe a serious drug problem. His behavior is not that of a rational but immature individual. It is totally inexplicable. Rational individuals, knowing that they are on the verge of getting suspended, don’t fail drug tests. Rational individuals, after being warned by the league about untying shoes, don’t try the same stunt the next night. He is an extremely talented guy and it would be a real shame if he throws it all away. I, for one, am rooting for him to deal with whatever issues he’s got. What can I say, I’m a sucker for people overcoming problems. It’s one reason that I like MWP so much. He’s a guy with serious mental issues, he’s acknowledged them, and he has done an amazing job overcoming them — and has transformed himself from total lunatic to quirky but likeable guy. I really hope JR is capable of the same transformation. His teammates seem to like him, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt that he is a good guy with problems, not an asshole.

    +1.

    I do not know why JR Smith acts the way that he does. I hope for his sake (and the sake of the Knicks) that he stops the self-destructive behavior.

  35. Crumple

    This kind of stuff can be good for a team too… a rally the troops/circle the wagon kind of thing. Provided of course his teammates do indeed like him, which it seems they do.

  36. Hubert

    Sometimes I like to pretend/hope that someone within MSG is intelligent and there’s a plan. So allow me an instant to view this through that prism.

    What if…

    - The Knicks want to trade JR, but they’ve found out that no one will take him unless we throw in a pick or a player (as Woj reported).

    And…

    (here’s where I assume too much intelligence on our part)

    - The reason the benching came now was to get him straight not so he can help us down the road. It was to get him straight so we can trade him by the deadline. It came now because we know he’s capable of having 3-4 good weeks, we know that it won’t last, and we think a resurgent/hot shooting JR from now til mid-February will entice at least one stupid team to take a chance on him for an expiring contract.

    Of course, it’s more likely that the team stupid enough to be fooled by a resurgent/hot shooting JR would be us. We’d probably get an offer for him and turn it down.

    Anyway, I stand by my position yesterday: we’re going to be a better team the instant he walks out the door. There is no hot streak that will make me change my mind. No shooting percentage that makes every other negative he brings to the table worth it.

  37. tastycakes

    I feel bad for JR. He’s obviously a troubled young dude with emotional problems. What he really needs is a shrink. Unfortunately he seems stuck in some pretty lousy behavioral patterns, and it’s hard to see him addressing them anytime soon, given his history.

    His talent is undeniable — we all saw what he’s capable of last year. I hope we see some kind of redemption song from him as the season advances, but I wouldn’t be terribly sad if he gets permanently benched or ultimately traded.

  38. Hubert

    He’s a goofball and a horndog and he likes the party but there are worse crimes and I don’t think he deserves the crap he gets.

    There are some things that he gets too much stick on. I actually didn’t care about the shoelace business, I have no opinion on anything he tweets, and I think he probably gets too much shit for going out (and probably isn’t even out as much as is reported).

    But he deserves every ounce of the crap he gets for what he’s done on the court. And actually, he hasn’t gotten nearly enough crap for it. All the things people are giving him crap about are irrelevant to me. I don’t care about the Woj article. But I care that he didn’t know the score and took that shot. I care that he’s been a really, really bad basketball player this year and has been given a lot of time to be that bad. I care that he doesn’t do the things he knows he needs to do to be good (like drive to the basket, shoot without dribbling, etc). And I really care that he doesn’t concentrate on defense.

    He’s still not getting enough crap for all that, IMO.

  39. Unreason

    Are the Knicks stuck with JR? Why shouldn’t they cut him? Or: What’s the benefit of keeping him? Has he played well enough or conducted himself well enough to stay on the team? Say he’s cut and a rival team grabs him in hopes of harnessing his tantalizing potential on Dolan’s nickel. That Trojan horse is money well spent IMO.

    I don’t wish him ill at all or think ill of him as a person. I just want him gone. I don’t think he has mental health problems anymore than MWP does. He just seems immature. And I have no right throw stones in that department. I shudder to think what I’d be like at his age with the money, fame, natural athleticism, etc. His level of screwing up doesn’t require extraordinary or dramatic explanation to account for. He’s just consistently made choices that have squandered the amazing opportunities he’s had. Plenty of people do. Human behavior on the whole isn’t rational. That doesn’t mean it’s pathological.

    I’m not passing judgment on him in saying I think the team will be better off without him. To me it just seems obvious that he’s been doing far more harm than good for too long to justify keeping him around. For his sake I think if he has any chance of pulling it together, a city far less tempting than NYC – Salt Lake maybe – would make a better home base.

  40. mase

    My takeaway from that game was Felton knocking down big shots and getting to the rim. Where has that been all season long?
    He looked confident for the first time after basically losing his starting job to prigs… Was benching jr a motivating factor to Felton in some parallel universe, like saying there is a level of accountability for actions and performance because to me Felton has been the biggest disappointment of this season. Maybe Imans performance inspired him.
    What’s up with Felton? Who’s is the pg on this team now, an argument could be made for any of the the three pg’s. in my opinion beno is the best at running an offense cuz he attacks the rim, Pablo is probably the most steady cuz he is the best shooter and Felton when he is getting to the rim is a beast, Murray is the best defender of the 4… back to the drawing board for woody.

  41. Frank O.

    The shoelace thing is bigger obviously than just the shoelace.
    Woodson benched him because he needs to show what he says is what he means. If a player simply blows off his coach, particularly a coach that has stood by JR almost unflinchingly through a lot of bullshit behavior, and the coach does nothing…well, then that coach is losing the team.
    Woodson needed to send a message.
    But what’s worse now: JR actually complained that Woodson didn’t tell him about it before hand…as if he’s owed that. Did he tell Woodson ahead of time that he planned to reject direction from Woodson and the NBA not to pull at another lace?
    Did he give anyone a heads up that he would be smoking dope before drug tests?
    Did he offer any warning that he and Rhianna planned to burn down NYC a few nights during the playoffs?

    I’m astounded the idiot actually complained. It only proves that none of what is said has anything to do with being sanctimonious or moralizing.
    His complaint sent this message to his teammates, his coach, the NBA and his fans loud and clear: “I don’t get it.”

  42. flossy

    When Melo was out last year it was JR who carried the scoring load. He’s capable of doing that in the NBA and there are maybe 30 guys in the whole league who are?

    He’s still recovering from knee surgery. he’s not all the way back yet.

    He’s a goofball and a horndog and he likes the party but there are worse crimes and I don’t think he deserves the crap he gets.

    Give me a break. Aside from nearly $2 million in career fines between the NBA and China, dozens of games missed due to suspension, weeks spent in jail, a good friend dead due to his reckless driving…

    This year alone, he has put off getting knee surgery until inking a new contract for himself AND his completely unqualified little brother (later publicly crying #betrayal when his brother got the much-deserved boot), managed to fail multiple drug tests and earn a suspension to start the season, been fined for threatening Brandon Jennings on twitter for (rightly) pointing out that Chris Smith is a joke, spent an entire game refusing to shoot out of pure spite, chucked up 17 threes in another game because #YOLO, pouted on the bench during a WIN because he didn’t play enough minutes, singlehandedly lost us a game because he claims he didn’t know the score in the final 30 seconds (!!), and then went on a spree of trying to untie other players shoes and wouldn’t stop even after being warned by his coach and the league office.

    Oh yeah, and all this time he’s been on pace to be one of the very few players in NBA history to play 30+ mpg while shooting only .350 from the field. And that’s just THIS YEAR. The season is not even half over! In fact, aside from one six-week stretch where he went supernova (a period which earned him $18 million), he’s basically sucked during his time with the Knicks.

    I am totally at a loss why anyone defends his behavior, on court or off.

  43. hoolahoop

    Okay – everyone all at once – jump on the bandwagon to demonize JR.
    Shoelace-gate was a joke that ran awry. His drug suspension was for smoking pot. He felt betrayed when his brother was cut, so tweeted about it. He’s 28 year old kid that makes crazy money and rejects authority and the establishment. Whoopty Dam Do.

    In every interview I’ve seen with him, he’s been introspective and respectful.

    Like a few others have said, it’s his on-court mishaps that are the real problem for the knicks. Blame the organization for that. The FO gave him the big contract. Woody gave him the minutes and the green light to shoot and keep shooting.

    Granted, JR needs to get his game together, but let’s keep things in perspective.

  44. Unreason

    Who’s is the pg on this team now, an argument could be made for any of the the three pg’s. in my opinion beno is the best at running an offense cuz he attacks the rim, Pablo is probably the most steady cuz he is the best shooter and Felton when he is getting to the rim is a beast, Murray is the best defender of the 4

    Yeah, Felton’s star performance last night notwithstanding I’d rather see Prigs/Murry get most of the minutes at pg once everyone is healthy. I don’t think Beno’s a major upgrade from Ray on D and that’s been the biggest issue IMO.

  45. flossy

    Shoelace-gate was a joke that ran awry. His drug suspension was for smoking pot. He felt betrayed when his brother was cut, so tweeted about it. He’s 28 year old kid that makes crazy money and rejects authority and the establishment. Whoopty Dam Do.

    The shoelace thing was joke until the league office and his coach told him to stop, and he didn’t. His drug suspension was for failing not one, not two, but three drug tests, for a drug that everyone including him knows NBA rules prohibit (whether or not you feel that should be the case is not relevant–we don’t get to choose the rules we want to follow). He felt entitled to a 2nd roster spot for his younger brother, and then had the gall to publicly call his employer out for “betrayal.” A 28 year-old is actually an adult, not a “kid,” and rejecting authority is not cute when it accompanies a total lack of professionalism and a massive drop in production.

    JR Smith might be able to get away with his bullshit if he actually played well, but it honestly seems like the worse he plays, the worse he acts.

  46. Hubert

    Granted, JR needs to get his game together, but let’s keep things in perspective.

    We don’t need JR to get his game together.

    We need to redistribute his 32.3 mpg to Shumpert, Hardaway, two PG lineups, and give whatever’s left to Metta when he’s healthy.

    At best, make him interchangeable with Tim Hardaway, JR in an 18 minute per game role.

    We’ll defend better, shoot better, move the ball better, and get at least get valuable player development for two young shooting guards who need it.

  47. mase

    “Yeah, Felton’s star performance last night notwithstanding I’d rather see Prigs/Murry get most of the minutes at pg once everyone is healthy. I don’t think Beno’s a major upgrade from Ray on D and that’s been the biggest issue ”

    I see both of them as backups… And Felton as an off guard.

    I dunno how you fix the pg spot if you want to go deep in the playoffs without making a trade… Andre miller, as old as he is, has fallen out of favor in Denver would be an upgrade…I wonder if they would take back jr?

  48. Unreason

    Hoolahoop.
    The shoelace thing is a red herring because it would have meant almost nothing in isolation. It’s the pattern. The guy admitted to partying like mad to the point where his game suffered substantially. Then he pulled it together and played great for a short while. Then he completely airmailed the entire freakin’ playoffs after allegedly resuming “The Life”. That’s the deal that matters. He has a long clear history of choosing to be extremely causal in how he approaches his work. He shows up to play as and how it suits him. He’s completely willing to pay lip service to the important things he knows are expected of him but that he’s in fact unwilling to commit to. He’s simply immature and his performance overall sucks because of it. The two things are linked.

    If he could either perform well while living the life he wants or be willing to change how he lives and acts so he performs well, then no one anywhere except possibly Thorn, would do much more than chuckle at the shoelaces.

    I can see liking the guy and wanting to root for him in spite of his horrendous play because you like him. But blame the FO for giving him a chance to fulfill the potential that almost everyone agrees he has? Implying that he himself is not ultimately to blame for how disciplined and aware he is when he plays or how well he prepares or how seriously he takes the whole thing? Really? That I don’t get.

  49. hoolahoop

    He felt entitled to a 2nd roster spot for his younger brother, and then had the gall to publicly call his employer out for “betrayal.”

    What if that was the deal they shook hands on? Is it understandable that he felt betrayed?

    JR Smith might be able to get away with his bullshit if he actually played well, but it honestly seems like the worse he plays, the worse he acts.

    It’s okay that different rules apply to different people?
    And if it’s true that the worse he plays, the worse he acts, then obviously he feels agitated and is not acting like his best self.

    My point is that this forum tend to have a herd mentality. Everyone loves the same guys and demonizes the same guys, no matter whether it’s justified or not.
    I’m no big JR fan. Yeah, he does some bone headed stuff, but suddenly, everyone’s a friggin psychologist and is prepared to banish him from ever touching a basketball again. He seems more mischievous than cruel.
    On the other hand, Ron Artest, can maliciously elbow guys in the face and intentionally knock their teeth out for years, but that’s okay. He’s on our team now. Let’s give him more playing time.

  50. hoolahoop

    Caveat: I’d like to see JR’s minutes go to TH2, Shump and Toure M.
    Just sick and tired of the personal demonization of people. Except if it’s Melo.

    (joking)

  51. ephus

    For over two years, I have consistently stated:

    The good news is that there is nothing JR Smith cannot do on a basketball court.
    The bad news is that there is nothing JR Smith will not do on a basketball court.

    This year, the first statement has not been true. JR Smith has failed to reach the heights that he scaled in prior years. He is taking the ball to the rim less often, and less effectively. His jump shot is less effective. His free lance defense is less effective.

    At the same time, the second statement has been taken to absurd new levels, as flossy recounted @47.

    JR Smith has to start making better decisions consistently if he wants to be an asset on the court. He can do smart things, sometimes. For example, his heady play down the stretch in San Antonio sealed that victory (drew foul, grabbed last second rebound, called TO).

    I do not know why JR Smith makes such bad decisions. I just know that nothing Woodson tried through the first 34 games was changing the dynamic. So, I was all in favor of a DNP-CD to try something new to impose discipline. I’m open to JR playing again, but with a short leash.

  52. Owen

    Hoolahoop – I think JR has earned the opprobrium. I don’t think it’s a herd mentality here at KB. He has played terribly and behaved badly and when you do the former you have very little room to do the latter.

  53. flossy

    It’s okay that different rules apply to different people?

    It’s not that different rules apply to different people, it’s that when you’re a professional anything, your on-the-job and off-the-job conduct will be judged in part according to how well you perform your job.

    I have a job, and here I am commenting on a basketball blog during work hours. In the abstract, that’s not good, but I’m very good at my job, my projects come in on schedule and under budget, people inside and outside of the organization know they can rely on me, etc. So nobody particularly cares that take a break every half an hour to check the blogs for five minutes, or if I joke around with my coworkers, or if I go out and party now and then.

    If my company were failing and I didn’t perform my job duties, that would be a problem, and it would be an even bigger problem if I came in to work hungover, demanded my boss hire my idiot nephew and then called him out for replacing him with someone competent, gave my clients titty-twisters and then wouldn’t stop when my boss told me to cut it out, pouted when my company’s prospects improved because I didn’t get enough credit… I mean, nobody would put up with my bullshit. And nobody should be putting up with JR’s bullshit, either.

    Again, he’s not a kid. He’s a multi-millionaire and a professional. I don’t think it’s too much to ask him to act like one. If Ron Artest were doing the kind of stuff JR does on a daily basis, he’d have commenters here tearing him a new one, too.

  54. Frank

    Yeah, he does some bone headed stuff, but suddenly, everyone’s a friggin psychologist and is prepared to banish him from ever touching a basketball again.

    I don’t think anyone here is saying that he shouldn’t ever play again – if there’s a herd mentality, it’s that we don’t want a player playing as poorly as he’s playing to get 30+ min/game, and we don’t want his bonehead plays/behavior to distract from the goals that this team is supposed to have. And re: being a psychologist, I think that’s precisely what he needs (as if he would ever listen). I’m not one, but I do believe that if he doesn’t have antisocial personality disorder, he is certainly on that spectrum — see following criteria from American Psychiatric Association for this:

    A) There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the following::
    - failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
    = deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
    - impulsivity or failure to plan ahead;
    - irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
    - reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
    - consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
    - lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;
    B) The individual is at least age 18 years.
    C) There is evidence of conduct disorder with onset before age 15 years.
    D) The occurrence of antisocial behavior is not exclusively during the course of schizophrenia or a manic episode.

    He basically fulfills all of the “three-of” criteria, probably B/C/D also.

  55. flossy

    @Flossy / comment 58 – maybe my favorite post of all time!

    Hah, thanks! (I should probably get back to work…)

  56. Frank

    Hoolahoop – I think JR has earned the opprobrium. I don’t think it’s a herd mentality here at KB. He has played terribly and behaved badly and when you do the former you have very little room to do the latter.

    Yeah, it’s a very different thing if you’re Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, or Michael Jordan partying/gambling/womanizing than if you’re a guy having one of the worst seasons in NBA history.

    Really glad that Woody sat him, if for no other reason than it hopefully restores some air of “accountability” to the team.

    And meanwhile, lost in all the ridiculous JR talk is how great the team played last night, and how great Melo has been. For the months of Dec/Jan he has basically been putting up 26/7.5/3.5 per 36 on a TS of about 58. The only players in the 3-point era that have put up those numbers over a full season are Bird, Karl Malone, and Lebron (Durant is on course for doing that this year also). Now of course we’ve seen Melo go supernova for a month at a time only to crash to earth later, but still — he’s been awesome.

  57. ruruland

    I’m with Frank. Take it from me, there is something severely wrong with JR. I’m in no way qualified to say what that is, but it’s completely indisputable.

    I don’t think he’s a bad person, I don’t think he’s stupid, and I don’t think he’s simply a spoiled child.

    People don’t understand that his behavior was actually worse and more persistent in Denver. There are/were so many people involved trying to help him because he used to be an amazing talent.

    He’s been benched, befriended, suspended, consoled, counseled. People have tried discipline, the friendly father approach, his dad has been involved, his family, interventions. Nothing works. He knows exactly what he’s doing. It’s self-sabotage every time.

    Unless he gets some kind of real medical help, it won’t stop until he’s out of the league and broke.

  58. ruruland

    And Frank, agreed obviously, with Felton, assuming Melo stays relatively healthy (and that’s a huge if), his efficiency will get a bit better as he’s finally getting a few open looks each game out of pnr and in spot-ups.

    He generally gets out to rough starts (.477 TS through first 7 games last year).

    But you look at Melo’s numbers last year. When did he struggle? It started with the week long fast, starting in Boston.

    Over 7 games and 19 days, he had a 461 TS.

    He got back on track, and then initially injured his shoulder in the Toronto game (he debated playing in the All-Star game).

    That was a 10 game slump where he had a .470 TS.

    Then he rolled his ankle in Cleveland, and had a couple of awful games.

    Then of course he tore his shoulder in the last game of the year against Indiana and struggled with his shot in the playoffs.

    Of course, Melo plays poorly when he’s healthy, too, but generally speaking, his slumps have always coincided with injuries.

    When healthy and not starving himself, he’s very efficient. But he’s injury prone, which takes him down from being an extremely efficient shooter for extremely high volume (in the 570-590 area) to a moderately efficient shooter.

  59. Frank

    Yeah I think there’s a very good chance that 10 years after he’s out of the league, he’ll be one of those cautionary tales you read about as an afterthought – he’s on or close to the same level as Pacman Jones or Titus Young for you NFL fans out there. Like ruru said on twitter last night, JR was basically responsible for his friend’s death with that reckless driving incident, promised that he was a changed man, then went out and got 3 speeding tickets in short order after that.

    And his response to getting benched last night, getting embarrassed on national TV?

    http://deadspin.com/photo-evidence-that-j-r-smith-continues-to-give-no-fuc-1498807271

    Again.

    Honestly – makes you feel for George Karl.

    Meanwhile – highly suggested reading: http://www.bsports.com/statsinsights/nba/pick-roll-keys-knicks-victory-heat

    Makes you love that double PNR.
    Have we seen that triple PNR even once this year? Feels like ran it at least 1-2x/game last year.

    Last thoughts – I know everyone wants to blame us beating the Heat on some combination of their injuries and overall not caring about the regular season– but seriously – between last year and this year we are 4-1 in the reg season against them with a +11.2 point/game scoring margin. I think it’s hard to argue that there’s something about this team that is difficult for Miami to match up with.

    And is anyone else here other than me loving Bargnani against all reason?

  60. mcliff05

    I agree with all the criticism JR is taking from KB right now. He’s proven hopelessly immature, somewhat selfish, low bball IQ and in the context of his poor play he deserves every shred of vitriol he gets as a professional. However, it is within the context of his poor play. We’ve seen what he’s capable of doing when he’s focused. I dont want to come across as naively optimistic but why would we just write him off completely by doling out his share of minutes leaving him to languish at the end of the bench. Let him earn his time back as a back of the rotation player, my guess is that making him work for 15-20 mins will re-ignite that fire. I’d trade him right now for a decent deal but until then we’re stuck with this guy so lets try some tough love and allow him to redeem himself. If not only just to get a few more kneeling-windmill-bollywood celebrations…oh wait, THJ can do that too.

  61. Unreason

    Well I am a psychologist, not that it makes me right on this question, obviously. Though my PhD was in clinical psych I don’t have a practice. I do research (medical decision making is one area; mining big data from EMRs for epidemiology is another). Admittedly I’m not a DSM-lover, especially the personality disorders. So, I have my prejudices. Even mindful of those I’d still suggest that just because JR clearly has a “problem at work” it doesn’t mean he has a mental illness. At least not in the same sense that people with biploar disorder or schizophrenia have an illness.

    I’m sure most of us could profit from good advice to help us cope better with some personal failings or traumatic events or could have our performance in some area improved by meds. And to get that from a credentialed professional we might need a diagnostic label. The problem is that many people tend to ascribe responsibility for behavior to biology or the environment as soon as a diagnostic label gets applied.

    And in cases like JR’s I think that’s seldom useful and often helps mask the importance of simpler commonsense choices he might have to start making in order to deal more effectively with his problems. With personality disorders in particular, the diagnosis doesn’t tell you anything about what’s causing the behavior and doesn’t give you any insight about what treatments are more effective because, for the most part, there aren’t any effective treatments. They’re a bit of a Viennese chimera IMO.

  62. ephus

    This link shows one of my favorite Melo passes from last night, for which he received no statistical love.

    Melo and Stat kept running the double PnR. Early on, Miami let Stat roll to the basket free. Melo picked him up with at least two passes. On this one, Stat got fouled so there was no assist for Melo.

    Those passes from Melo freed him up from 3 as the game went on because Lebron kept sagging to cover Stat when he rolled to the rim. Melo hit at least two left side 3s above the break because LBJ was in the lane trying to keep Stat from getting an uncontested dunk.

    And is anyone else here other than me loving Bargnani against all reason?

    Bargnani is tantalizing. He does a number of things really well – shoots from mid-range, show and tell to make the defense pay for the hard close out, one-on-one post defense. More recently, he has started to convert when he takes the ball to the rim (great reverse dunk) and last night he was sporadically effective when he switched on to LBJ one-on-one.

    Bargnani also has some gaping deficits. He is bad defender in space when he switches on to guards. He is truly horrible at recovering to his man, so he essentially forces the guard to switch. He can be slow and passive in transition defense.

    One area where I think he has improved, but I would love to see data, is in rebounding. It seems as if he is getting into defensive rebounding position more often. He also seems to have become effective at the Tyson tap-out on the offensive boards.

    Bargnani is infuriating when it appears that he is not trying. In 2014, I cannot fault the effort.

  63. Hubert

    My point is that this forum tend to have a herd mentality. Everyone loves the same guys and demonizes the same guys,

    Yeah, there’s such a unanimous opinion here about Melo, Chandler, Bargnani…

    The only guy we all love is Pablo. Except Vinny. Who we banned for being the guy who didn’t like Pablo ;)

  64. The Ghost of Ted Nelson

    In every interview I’ve seen with him, he’s been introspective and respectful.

    So was Sprewell during his time in NY. But that didn’t mean that he didn’t have mental issues that were detrimental to the team.

    JR Smith might be able to get away with his bullshit if he actually played well

    In the words of Crash Davis: “Think classy, you’ll be classy. Win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press’ll think you’re colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it only means you are a slob.

    I do not know why JR Smith acts the way that he does. I hope for his sake (and the sake of the Knicks) that he stops the self-destructive behavior.

    Hey Ephus, a few days ago you wrote that Smith’s 3rd year commitment was moot, because he’d either be traded or kicked out of the league. What exactly does one need to do to get kicked out of the league these days? (It’s gotta be something more than make inappropriate tweets, smoke pot, or untie peoples shoes, right?… I mean, Artest stayed in the league; Sprewell stayed in the league. I suppose he could end up in jail (again), but it seems that there is a lot of room between playing well enough to be tradeable and incarceration, and the 3rd year of his contract will likely fall into that area, no?

  65. The Ghost of Ted Nelson

    Flossy! It’s time to test out your hypothesis: Give the next client you see a titty-twister, then report back to us.

  66. ephus

    I’m sure most of us could profit from good advice to help us cope better with some personal failings or traumatic events or could have our performance in some area improved by meds. And to get that from a credentialed professional we might need a diagnostic label.

    Unreason – I’m not a psychologist and I appreciate your insight and your modesty. I do not think it is useful to try to diagnose JR from the snippets we see.

    At the same time, given the wealth of evidence that JR has a destructive relationship with recreational drugs (meaning that he has had severe personal and professional consequences from drinking and (at least) marijuana use), I wonder whether he is self-medicating. If that is the case, he might really benefit from clinical intervention and medication to substitute for the substances that are creating their own adverse consequences.

  67. DRed

    Bargnani is a terrible basketball player, but in a way it makes his occasional competence more enjoyable.

  68. Hubert

    When healthy and not starving himself, he’s very efficient.

    Fuck. I forgot he starves himself. It was last January, right? Is this an annual thing?

  69. Unreason

    ephus
    As in many other things, you could be right about JR benefiting from that kind of intervention. I agree that it’s hard (nearly impossible?) to form a confident judgment about it one way or the other based on snippets in the press. I didn’t take what you or anyone else wrote for more than fun speculation about what ails our vexing JR. I’m not being modest at all. One of the benefits of professional expertise is a better understanding of the limits of knowledge. So that puts me in a good position to realize that other posters have as valid a perspective and as much insight into this as I’m likely to have.

  70. Frank

    @ephus – per NBA.com
    Bargnani’s stats in 10 game increments:

    Games 1-10: 27.5 min, Ortg 97.9, DRtg 110.6, ORB% 6.9, DRB% 14.1, TRB% 10.1, TS 59.5
    Games 11-20: 34 min, ORtg 99.1, DRtg 107.9, ORB% 5.2, DRB 13.9, TRB 9.4, TS 45.9
    Games 21-30: 29.4 min, ORtg 105.3, DRtg 106, ORB 6.1, DRB 17.6, TRB 11.2, TS 47.6
    Games 31-35: 30.5 min, ORtg 111.3, DRtg 97.4, ORB 8.0, DRB 17.6, TRB 12.6, TS 52.5

    Check out that D-Rating and Net Rating in 2014!
    But no doubt his rebounding has improved – for the year he’s still in bottom 10 or so of all PFs, but lately he’s been rebounding probably 30-35th percentile, which is way better than in the worst 10 percent.

  71. ephus

    Hey Ephus, a few days ago you wrote that Smith’s 3rd year commitment was moot, because he’d either be traded or kicked out of the league. What exactly does one need to do to get kicked out of the league these days?

    In order to get kicked out (and have your contracted mooted), you have to violate the league policy on a “drug of abuse” (recreational drugs other than marijuana).

    If a player comes forward voluntarily to say that he has a problem, he has a long path. First time offenders get paid during their rehab and then have to comply with their aftercare program. Second time offenders (who come forward voluntarily) are not paid during their rehab and are suspended without pay for at least six months. A third violation (even if the player comes forward voluntarily) results in dismissal from the league and a voided contract.

    If a player is caught through drug testing (random or based on probable cause), he is dismissed from the league and contract voided for a first offense.

    If a player is convicted for distribution of any drug or possession of any drug (other than marijuana), he is dismissed from the league and contract voided.

    Any player who is dismissed cannot apply for reinstatement for two years.

    The marijuana program has (1) no penalty for a first offense, (2) a $25,000 fine for a second offense, (3) a five game suspension for a third offense and (4) suspensions escalating by 5 games (10, 15, 20, etc.) for each subsequent offense. So, we know that JR had already failed three marijuana tests, since he was suspended for five games.

  72. Frank

    What’s interesting about those stats by groups of games is the trend of most of those stats:

    Offensive Rating: 98–>99–>105–>111
    Defensive Rating: 111–>108–>106–>97
    Defensive Rebound%: 14–>14–>17.6–>17.6
    Total Rebound%: 10–>9–>11–>13

    At this rate he’ll be in-his-prime Kevin Garnett by March!

  73. knickster

    JR has all the traits of people suffering from manic depression / bipolar disorder. The thing is that regular guys can thrive under close medical care; athletes have a much harder time because, depending on the severity of their condition, the medication can drastically impair their physical reflexes. That would explain the ‘good behavior’ being accompanied by sucky performance while the recent ‘on the court recovery’ comes with the ‘crazy’ antics.

    Just a possibility…

  74. Crumple

    And is anyone else here other than me loving Bargnani against all reason?

    *raises hand*

    Seems his teammates like him too. I dunno what’s gonna happen but this team is fun. It would be so much worse to have to deal with bullshit of the sort going on in Cleveland.

  75. ephus

    I do not know whether the rest if the Knicks “like” Bargnani. It is clear that they are learning to play with him. Here are some things that I hope come next:

    1. Bargnani incorporated into the double PnR. He can make this play work as either the dive man or fading to three point land.

    2. Bargnani setting screens on the low box for cutters. He has a big body. He also can slip the screen and catch at the rim when opponents send Bargnani’s man to hedge.

    3. Bargnani kicking to the weak side corner 3 after executing the show and tell. Opponents are going to start wising up to Bargnani attacking the rim against the hard close out and sending weak side defenders to stop him on the way to the rim.

    As far as I am concerned, the roulette ball is still spinning for Bargs.

  76. flossy

    From that piece about Ricky Davis:

    “I got drafted when I was 17,” Davis said. “I never really learned the good ways and the bad ways. … It’s bad that it’s still on me, but it’s OK,” he said, before adding with a chuckle, “I’m glad to be remembered for a triple-double. That’s OK. A triple-double’s good.”

    I mean… wow.

  77. Owen

    Love the anecdote about how he viewed Lebron as one of his role players….

    At least he isn’t broke….

    How strange is it to see Howard Beck on Bleacher Report…

  78. ephus

    As I stated earlier this week, the Nets are more likely than the Raptors to win the Atlantic.

    Big MLK game coming up.

  79. Brian Cronin

    This Nets/Knicks thing is really, really weird, right? It’s like some sort of freaky conjoined twin shit going on.

  80. Robert Silverman

    I don’t think he’s a bad person, I don’t think he’s stupid, and I don’t think he’s simply a spoiled child.

    Well, that’s what Woj said. That’s what I take issue with. JR’s had a terrible year and should have been benched last night (hell, long before last night), but that article was a load of crap and actually kind of racist. Of course, that’s Woj’s MO. He’s great at breaking stories, but when he puts his ‘columnist’ hat on, you get hit pieces that come across like a better-written Phil Mushnick.

    Check this out, for example: http://deadspin.com/5811311/every-overwrought-thing-adrian-wojnarowski-has-said-about-lebron-james

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