J.R. Smith's Bold Shot Selection Will Be NY Knicks' Secret Weapon
The New York Knicks have a secret weapon.
Some may think I'm referencing their ability to go small and score at an elite pace with Carmelo Anthony at power forward. For others, this is a reflection on their slew of three-point shooters who can alter the outcome of any game.
The truth of the matter is, there is one shooter who stands above the rest. One man whose bold and fearless nature with the ball in his hands will separate the Knicks from the competition.
Smith has spent the past eight years floating between New Orleans, Denver and New York. Regardless of where he's played, Smith has spent a majority of his time in the role of sixth man, providing a scoring spark to whichever second unit he was a part of.
For the first time in his eight-year career, however, the 27-year-old appears to have discovered a role in which he is comfortable.
Smith will be looked to as the Knicks' second-leading scorer with Amar'e Stoudemire sidelined for close to two months (via ESPN New York). In turn, Smith will be trusted to fill in as a scorer in slashing, catch-and-shoot and spot-up situations.
Most importantly, head coach Mike Woodson will rely upon Smith to keep a defense on their toes with his bold shot selection.
Room for Brilliance
During his eight years in the league, Smith has scored at least 40 points in four different games. Although he has stretches in which he shoots at a painfully inconsistent rate, Smith still has the ability to take over a game like only the true superstars of the league can.
Even if those outbursts may not come as consistently as one would hope for, how could you pass up on the opportunity to see your sixth man dominate the game?
Chances are, Smith's average will sit close to 15.0 points per game. Anthony will do the majority of the shooting, with the scoring load becoming equally distributed beyond him.
Upon the return of Stoudemire, that balance will shift in STAT's direction.
Smith can take over and put up numbers that the Knicks had hoped Stoudemire would. For that reason, there is room for brilliance that the Knicks will benefit from exploring.
Bring MSG to Life
When Jeremy Lin took over the basketball world, there were acts of an extraordinary nature. From his 38-point outburst against the Los Angeles Lakers to his 28-point and 14-assist performance against the Dallas Mavericks, there was no shortage of brilliance.
What we all seem to have forgotten, however, is the most important aspect of Linsanity. That, of course, was the insanity itself.
It's the life that was breathed into a previously dull Madison Square Garden.
With every passing performance, Lin would bring the Madison Square Garden crowds to their feet. With the passionate fanbase screaming behind them, the task of coming into New York and stealing a "W" became quite the daunting task.
With his explosive athleticism, rim-rattling dunking ability and limitless three-point range, Smith could step in and fill that very void. The only question is, are you ready to be amazed?
As previously alluded to, Smith has his moments of inconsistency. The unfortunate truth is that those moments come far more often than one would hope for, which is quite the concerning reflection on Smith's game.
Fortunately for the Knicks, Smith appears to have found a middle ground between the brilliant and the head-scratching. In turn, he is on pace for the best statistical season of his eight-year career.
Thank the Lord for head coach Mike Woodson preaching defense and intelligent play. It's a much better system than George Karl chewing Smith out to the media, huh (via ESPN)?
In this system, Smith will often score at a quality, but not spectacular, rate. This creates the perfect system for Smith as an individual, as he begins to develop a rhythm that can lead to what we all know he is capable of.
He has a bold shot selection that has the upside to lead to 30- to 40-point performances on a rather consistent basis. This is exactly why Smith is the Knicks' secret weapon.
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