JR Smith Says Playing Defense Is for His Teammates to Worry About

Joe FlynnContributor IJanuary 24, 2014

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 22: J.R. Smith #8 of the New York Knicks shoots against the Philadelphia 76ers during the game on January 22, 2014 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.  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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
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New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson is under fire for his team's poor play—particularly on the defensive side of the ball. Well there's no need to fear, coach, because J.R. Smith has your back.

The controversial Knicks shooting guard defended Woodson to Marc Berman of the New York Post, saying that the players deserve the brunt of the blame for the Knicks' defensive woes.

Of course, J.R. being J.R., he couldn't get through the interview without saying something weird. When asked his opinion of Woodson's defensive system, Smith told Berman: "That’s really not my area of expertise. I’m more of a scoring-type player. I’ll leave that to those guys. Whatever they want to do, it’s OK with me. Just let me know."

While it's true that defense isn't Smith's area of expertise, he might want to consider boning up on the subject. After all, he plays the third-most minutes on a Knicks team that ranks 27th in the NBA in defensive efficiency, according to Basketball Reference.

Given the fact that he often plays alongside Raymond Feltonperhaps the worst defensive point guard in the league—Smith could probably stand to take a little more of the defensive burden onto his shoulders.

Also, the idea that Smith is more of a "scoring-type player" might be a bit outdated. He is averaging 11.9 points per game on the season, well below last season's average of 18.1, when he won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award. 

At the moment, Smith is more of a shooting-type player, and he's not doing that particularly well. His 36.5 field-goal percentage ranks him dead last among qualified players.

Not every Knicks player has been as quick to defend Woodson's defensive schemes. Center Tyson Chandler went on the record that he disagreed with Woodson's switch-happy defense, according to Newsday's Al Iannazzone:

Bleacher Report's own Dan Favale tackled the problem of Woodson's schemes on Jan. 22. 

So maybe Woodson doesn't have his former Defensive Player of the Year on his side. But he does have J.R. Smith, and that has to count for something, right?