J.R. Smith questions Knicks’ heart
The Knicks have many banged up pieces of their perfect puzzle, namely Carmelo Anthony, Amar’e Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, but it’s not the injuries that have often-outspoken, J.R. Smith, questioning their play. It’s their hearts. J.R. Smith says the Knicks lack heart, and perhaps he’s correct.
“We got to check out our heart right now,” Smith said. “We either got to compete or pack up and go home. It’s just that simple.”
Carmelo is battling fluid in his knee. An injury that can nag. Fluid can come and go without warning, and he’s considered day-to-day. Amar’e is out indefinitely after knee surgery. And last but not least, Tyson Chandler, who is held up with a knee contusion after banging knees with Corey Brewer in their loss to the Denver Nuggets.
J.R. Smith has also reported knee and shin pain, but has yet to miss a game due to said injuries. While Smith may have a point about the Knicks’ lack of heart, the fact remains that teams who have so many injured components tend to play poorly. You can’t be missing your three best players and expect to beat good teams. Even teams like the Blazers, who have a less-than-stellar record. Solid teams will beat you in their own building when you have such detrimental injuries.
The Knicks need to focus on getting guys like Carmelo and Tyson Chandler back into peak health. They managed the beginning of the season sans Stoudemire, and I suspect that they can continue to play with parts like Kenyon Martin filling that void. The Knicks only go as far as Carmelo Anthony takes them, as the star forward is having what could be his best season as a pro.
J.R. Smith’s focus should be on being a team leader in the absence of Knicks’ leaders, such as Anthony and Chandler. J.R. provides a spark off the bench for NY that not many players can. Teams across the league would be glad to have firepower like Smith coming off the bench. He needs to step up and be more of a vocal leader, instead of questioning players’ heart.
“I don’t mind losing,” Smith said. “But if we just go out there and get demolished, that’s a problem, especially when you’re supposed to be considered one of the best teams in your division and your conference. It’s just not a good look for us.”
Patience and team-play will be key for the Knicks while they await the return of their invaluable stars. J.R. Smith has to realize this, and increase his leadership in the process if the Knicks plan to weather this storm.