Does J.R. Smith Make The New York Knicks A Championship Contender?
A few weeks ago, I agreed to go to a New York Knicks game today with a close friend of mine. He’s a Knicks fan, so I obliged. But, admittedly, I wasn’t really looking forward to going to Madison Square Garden. After all, the Knicks have been pretty pathetic this season. So even though they I’d be getting the chance to see two of the NBA’s biggest superstars—Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire—take on Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks, the game wasn’t all that appealing to me. That said, what a difference a few weeks makes!
I’m excited for today’s game. I’m not a Knicks fan. But, for starters, I’m going to get a first-hand look at Jeremy Lin, the guy who is at least partly responsible for the turnaround that the Knicks have experienced over the course of the last few weeks. I’m going to get to see Melo (provided he doesn’t get hurt again!) and Stoudemire in action, too. And I’ll also get to see the latest addition to the Knicks roster J.R. Smith, who just signed with the team after a stint playing in China. I’ll tell ya: My friend picked a hell of a day to ask me to go see a Knicks game!
Out of all of those things, though, I’m most interested in seeing how Smith will fit into the Knicks rotation. I’ve heard Knicks fans say both good and bad things about him over the course of the past couple days. On the one hand, he is a sharpshooter who has a knack for putting the ball into the basket. Just check out some of his highlights from his time in the Chinese Basketball Association and it’s clear that he knows how to put up big numbers. On the other, Knicks fans are already concerned about how Lin, Anthony, and Stoudemire will be able to share one basketball. So adding Smith to the mix sounds like it could be a recipe for disaster. Depending on how things go, Smith could either be the final piece in the Knicks’ championship puzzle—or a guy who completely disrupts the natural flow of the team and shoots them right out of the playoffs.
I’ll be interested to see which guy shows up on Sunday. If Smith gets some playing time and is happy with just trying to find his shot on a team that’s suddenly filled with playmakers, I think the Knicks will be just fine. But, if he enters the game on Sunday and immediately starts chucking, the Knicks might have made a mistake. Either way, I’m glad that I’ll get to see it first-hand. Because, all of a sudden, the Knicks are the most exciting team in the NBA. And the signing of Smith only reinforces that notion. See ya at the Garden.