Mike Woodson on J.R. Smith: He Needs to “Grow Up”

  • Dave Ragazzo
Mike Woodson (left) knows J.R. Smith (right) will be a vital part of the Knicks success this year if he can mature on and off the court.  PHOTO COURTESY:  COREY SIPKIN/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Mike Woodson (left) knows J.R. Smith (right) will be a vital part of the Knicks success this year if he can mature on and off the court. PHOTO COURTESY: COREY SIPKIN/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

On Tuesday, the Knicks picked up head coach Mike Woodson’s option for the 2014-15 season.  On Wednesday, he showed why it was a great decision to do just that.

When addressing the media on Wednesday after the Knicks training camp session, Woodson told reporters that J.R. Smith needs to “grow up and do the right thing.”  According to the New York Post, he would go on to say more about his talented but troubled sixth man:

“He’s a big piece to the puzzle,’’ Woodson said. “I’m not going to throw him out to pasture. My job is to coach him and make sure what happens, doesn’t happen again. I expect his teammates to show him some love. At end of the day, he’s got to do the thing with his team, me as a coach , the organization, and fans that support him. That’s what it’s all about. He’s got to grow up and do the right things.’’

Smith has been troubled during his whole career, but it seems like last year was one of his worst when it came to off the court drama.  His Twitter account is now famed for his many incidents from his beef with radio personality Charlamagne Tha God from New York’s 105.1 to “The Piping Heard Round The World” (for those of you who are not familiar with that, he asked an underage girl who tweeted him if she wanted the “pipe.”).

Then, the playoffs came and that is when it really hit the fan.  To go along with his shooting struggles, which he recently blamed on “pissing off the basketball gods,” he was seen out partying while the Knicks were losing playoff games to the Pacers.  Despite this, he was still rewarded with a three year contract worth about $18 million this off season.  After knee surgery knee that will keep him out of training camp and possibly the beginning of the season, he has to face a five game suspension for failing his third marijuana test when he is cleared to play by a doctor.

Woodson is right on the money with his assessment of Smith and has proven time and time again that he should be an NBA head coach.  This is just the latest example of that.  Smith does need to grow up, and his immaturity is a big reason that he has never developed into a huge star in this league.  If you’ve watched Smith play in one game, you know how talented the guy is.  He is arguably the most athletic guy on the Knicks and maybe even the league and if he could ever hone in and just concentrate on basketball, the sky is the limit for him.

Only problem is, at 28 is it too late for him to mature?  The answer to that is easy; it’s never too late to mature.  The skepticism comes in to full fruition because he is entering his tenth year in the league.  Why hasn’t he matured yet, is a better question.  If he does, the Knicks can be serious contenders.  If he doesn’t they, will have a hard time getting past the second round of the playoffs again.

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