J.R. Smith is off to a scorching start with the New York Knicks this season, averaging 18.2 points per game and converting more than 70% of his shots from three-point range. The three-point percentage will obviously fall at some point, but Smith’s scoring average is notable as it is almost a full six points higher than his career mark of 12.6 points per game.
The Knicks have only played five games, but their sharp-shooter has looked like a new man. On Wednesday, Smith admitted that his improvement on the court has to do with focusing more off of it.
“I’m not going to lie,” Smith told Marc Berman of the NY Post. “The New York City nightlife pretty much got to me (last season). I was going out pretty much every other night and not focused on the task at hand.”
New York head coach Mike Woodson says he has noticed a change in Smith. Woodson said the eight-year veteran has taken his advice by acting more professionally and doing things like wearing suits to games instead of baggy jeans.
“My thing is, being professional 24 hours a day – 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Smith said. “I can’t let myself slip as well as my teammates slip. In order for me to hold them accountable, I have to hold myself accountable. I go out here and there. I definitely have to choose my spots. Definitely not before games. I’ve been smart about it.”
Not going out before games is a great career choice. Now if Smith could stop writing ridiculously dumb things on his Twitter account, the Knicks would really be in business. J.R. said he expects a championship and nothing less for New York this season. While there is still a long way to go before anyone starts thinking about that, he would certainly give the Knicks a major boost if he keeps playing at an incredibly high level.
Chest bump to Pro Basketball Talk
Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE