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J.R. Smith's Playoff Disappearance Hurts His Market Value

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 26: J.R. Smith #8 of the New York Knicks reacts after missing a shot against the Boston Celtics during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs on April 26, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Brian MaziqueCorrespondent IIIJune 20, 2016

Things were going so well for J.R. Smith—at least until the second-round series with the Indiana Pacers began. It seemed he was in line to shake some of the negative on-court labels he'd been given in his career.

Moreover, Smith seemed destined to get paid once he exercised his player option during the offseason.

He'll still get a raise from his 2012-13 salary of $2,932,742, per Spotrac, but he likely lost a few million with his performance against the Pacers.

After a regular season that saw him earn the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year award, he was less-than-award-worthy when his team needed him. 

The New York Knicks were dispatched in six games, and Smith's numbers were down from the regular season in nearly every category.


PPG RPG FG% 3PFG% FT% APG
Regular Season 18.1 5.3 .422 .356 .762 2.7
Conference Semifinals 13.5 5 .288 .230 .740 1.3

 

In the deciding game of the series, Smith was an abysmal 4-of-15 from the field and 2-of-9 from beyond the arc.

He had just 15 points.

New York desperately needed a consistent second scorer to take pressure off Carmelo Anthony, but Smith was anything but consistent.

Melo struggled with his shot most of the series. A big reason for that was the defense of the abundantly underrated Paul George. Smith was the man who needed to pick up the slack.

The Pacers didn't have another elite perimeter defender to throw at Smith. He had good looks throughout most of the series; he simply couldn't knock down his shots.

This may have seemed like a breakout season for Smith, but what he did in the Pacers series was more in line with what he has done in the playoffs throughout his career.

  PPG RPG FG% 3PFG% FT% APG
Playoff Numbers Prior to 2012-13 Season 12.6 3.6 .407 .318 .729 2

 

Teams who are eyeing deep postseason runs want players who raise their game in the second season. Smith didn't do that. In fact, his comments before Game 6 sounded like a man prematurely resigned to his fate.

To his credit, he did play hard on Saturday night; that was evidenced by his 10 rebounds. However, the Knicks would have gladly traded a couple of those boards for two three-pointers.

It may be possible to accept Smith's unpredictable behavior and potentially problematic off-the-court antics. That said, teams would like to at least benefit from stellar play.

While Smith delivered that through the first 82 games, his play in the second round has to make potential suitors wonder if he's worth the trouble.

 

Follow me, because I'll be tweeting pictures of me singing Phillip Phillps' Gone to the Knicks all weekend.

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