Thursday, December 12, 2013
Opening Tip: How to lift Smith?
By Ian Begley
Mike Woodson knows he needs more from J.R. Smith. But he's not sure of the best way to coax it out of him.
"We've got to get J.R. in the mix somehow," Woodson said after Wednesday's win over the Bulls.
Smith was held to just seven points on 2-for-8 shooting in 29 minutes against Chicago. In the six games prior to Wednesday, Smith averaged just 10.8 points on 40 percent shooting.
Last season, he averaged 18.1 points on 42 percent shooting. His shooting percentage this year is relatively similar to what it was last season, but Smith isn't making the same impact. He's settling for jump shots more frequently than last season and seems to be struggling to get to the rim. Maybe he's still working his way back from offseason knee surgery?
Whatever the reason is, Smith's struggles have impacted the Knicks on offense. New York ranked third in offensive efficiency last season. They entered play Thursday ranked 18th in that category.
Of course, that's not all on Smith. There are plenty of reasons why New York is struggling. But Smith is part of the problem.
"We need [Smith] to play. I need Iman [Shumpert] to play," Woodson said. "I've got to get major play out of both of those guys for us to really be effective and play at a high level."
That brings us to our question on Thursday: What would you do to spark J.R Smith? Would you bench him? Reduce his minutes? Start him?