New York Knicks: Why J.R. Smith Should Have Kept His Mouth Shut
During a question-and-answer session with kid golfers at Chelsea Piers, Smith was asked how sure he was of the Knicks ending their title drought this season.
"I’m 100 percent sure," the swingman said.
Smith was then asked why he joined the Knicks over the Nets when he came back from China in February 2012.
"The Nets weren’t good," Smith said. "Now they’re still not good."
Coming into the 2013-14 campaign, there aren't high expectations for the Knicks, especially after the considerable improvement around them in an Eastern conference that already holds the NBA's best squad and back-to-back champions, the Miami Heat.
The Chicago Bulls will welcome back their star player, Derrick Rose, after a season-long injury last year. The Indiana Pacers were a nose hair from making the NBA Finals and only figure to get better with Danny Granger coming back and a strengthened bench.
Not to mention the Nets, who have added two Hall of Famers in Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to their roster. Adding to their incredible amount of depth, Brooklyn also signed Andrei Kirilenko to its bench and now that squad has a realistic shot at competing for Eastern conference supremacy.
With all this action going on around them, the Knicks have made some nice, quiet moves bringing in the likes of Andrea Bargnani, Metta World Peace and Beno Udrih.
Even with those solid additions, many people feel the Knicks are no better than a No. 5 seed in the East, which I must admit, even as a Knicks fan, is looking pretty realistic for the moment.
But the lack of expectations aren't really a big deal. It means the Knicks won't have a whole heck of a lot of people picking them to make big noise this season, and that helps take some of the pressure off a team that is full of guys who haven't really accomplished much.
Enter J.R. Smith.
Now Smith's big mouth has helped shine a spotlight on the Knicks this season and the only thing people will talk about is how Smith senselessly guaranteed an NBA title when it wasn't necessary or even logical to do so.
Flying under the radar would have been a far better strategy, but now Smith has lowered himself to the level of Pierce and some of the Nets, who have been infamous for talking trash this offseason, in an effort to get their Big Apple counterparts all riled up.
The fact of the matter is that Smith's jawing won't win the Knicks games or stop him from no-showing in the playoffs. Saying the Nets aren't that good won't erase the fact that Brooklyn is going to be good, as long as they stay healthy, and will more than challenge the Knicks in the Atlantic division.
Instead, the Knicks must go out and talk with their play because quite frankly, they are still a 54-win team from last season with a far younger and more athletic roster.
They have nothing to prove to anyone but themselves. All the other critics won't be silenced by quotes anyway, only winning will quiet them.
Granted, not many analysts and fans outside of New York are giving general manager Glenn Grunwald credit and the Knicks' improved roster much respect, but that's just the way this team should want it. Clearly, Smith doesn't subscribe to that same thought process.
So, instead of coming off as smart with his prediction, Smith looks more like New York Jets head coach, Rex Ryan. He now has set a ridiculously high bar for himself and his teammates, and will face no shortage of ridicule if he happens to fall flat on his face.
And this isn't the first time he's done this, either.
Do you think Smith should have kept his mouth shut?
Even the most optimistic Knicks fan can't possibly predict with 100 percent certainty New York will bring home a title.
I'm even more sure that not being picked by anyone is the ideal low pressure environment that would to help the players feel more loose from game to game.
Now the Knicks have a title prediction to deal with, and it isn't even from their coach or their best player.
Sure, it's OK to say the Knicks have the talent to win a title, but to say as Smith did that it's a 100 percent certainty is just downright ignorant and will only serve to hurt this team moving forward.
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