J.R. Smith: Anything Less Than a Title Is a 'Waste' for NY Knicks Next Season

Stephen Babb@@StephenBabbFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MAY 14:  J.R. Smith #8 and Amare Stoudemire #1 of the New York Knicks protest a foul called during the game against the Indiana Pacers during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on May 14, 2013 in Indianapolis, Indiana. 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 Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

With or without J.R. Smith's thoughts on the matter, the New York Knicks will be subject to no shortage of expectations in 2013-14. The team's enigmatic sixth man isn't harboring any illusions.

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Big expectations are nothing new in New York, especially with the franchise entering its fourth season of the Carmelo Anthony era. Though the highest of hopes were initially dashed by injury and chemistry issues besetting Amar'e Stoudemire, there's renewed optimism that the Knicks can continue their evolution under head coach Mike Woodson.

A bruised and battered New York squad fell to the Miami Heat in the first round during Woodson's first year coaching the team (after inheriting it midseason from Mike D'Antoni). It did better last season, though, ultimately falling to the Indiana Pacers in the semifinals.

Before Smith and Co. can really start thinking about beating the Miami Heat to a title in 2014, they still have to top Indiana, to say nothing of the increased threats posed by the Brooklyn Nets and Chicago Bulls.

Importing Andrea Bargnani, Beno Udrih and Metta World Peace won't hurt, but nor will it have the same impact as acquiring Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett or again enjoying a healthy Derrick Rose.

To avoid a wasted season, Smith will need to do his part. That means no more blond hair.

And more importantly, he can't shoot 29 percent from the field in the conference semifinals. Hushed injury struggles had something to do with that last season, but the Pacers probably did too. Staying healthy will be up to chance, but figuring out teams like Indiana is up to the Knicks.