City Sports Report

JR Smith Needs to Take It to the Rim by Derrel “Jazz” Johnson

Can JR Smith Regain His Shooting Touch?  (Photo by Thomas Humphrey)

Can JR Smith Regain His Shooting Touch? (Photo by Thomas Humphrey)

When JR Smith had his most successful streak of the 2012-2013 NBA season, a stretch of six games where he averaged 23.8 points per game, shooting 57-102 (56%) from the field, he didn’t settle for three-pointers, or even jump shots. He aggressively took his defenders off the dribble and was able to get many easy shots closer to the basket, or was fouled and earned free throws. This stretch, in which he was 42-50 (84%) from the free throw line, is what I believe led him to receiving the Kia NBA Sixth Man Award for the season. Smith needs to return to that form to remain on the court for the New York Knicks in their showdown with the Indiana Pacers in the Eastern Conference semifinals of the 2013 NBA Playoffs.

If you have ever played basketball on any level, you know it is a lot easier to stand on the perimeter and hoist three pointers and long jump shots all game, as opposed to taking to ball to the basket, which requires a lot more energy. Since the infamous elbow against Jason Terry in game three of the Knicks first round series against the Boston Celtics, Smith has lost his jump shot following losing his cool on the court. He has shot a paltry 26-91 (29%) in his last six, including the last two against the Celtics and the first four versus the Indiana Pacers.

I am one that believes that you either succeed or fail with the people that led to your current fortune, and I think the same is true of Knicks head coach Mike Woodson. I think he will afford JR Smith every opportunity to break out of his shooting slump. But facing a big team like the Pacers that could lead Woodson to play a bigger lineup, and with Kenyon Martin stating game four, Amar’e Stoudemire’s return, and Iman Shumpert’s improved play, Woodson may not play Smith as many minutes if the horrendous shooting continues. Knicks fans across the globe hope that Smith regains the shooting touch that led to the best season of his NBA career in time for game 5 against the Pacers.

Check out this interview I did with JR’s father, Earl Smith.


  1. Joe Roberts, Jr.

    May 16, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    The Knicks must play small. Melo, Amare and Copeland or Novack. Force Hibbert to guard someone. Going big is not helping on the boards, and Hibbert can play a zone guarding Chandler or K. Martin. If Smith doesn’t play better it probably doesn’t matter who they play. Professional pride should mean a win tonight. This series is not over!

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