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J.R. Smith fears Mike Woodson getting fired (as he should)

Feb 6, 2014, 6:58 PM EDT

Orlando Magic v New York Knicks

J.R. Smith was suspended for the New York Knicks’ first five games due to a failed drug test. He delayed getting knee surgery until after signing a new contract. He feuded with Paul Pierce.

And that was just before the season began.

But when Smith returned after his suspension, Woodson immediately gave him big minutes. Heck, Woodson even gave Smith a starting spot.

Since, Smith has threatened Brandon Jennings, complained about the Knicks waiving a non-NBA-caliber player, taken one of the season’s worst shots, untied Dwight Howard’s shoes, untied Shawn Marion’s shoes and gestured toward untying Greg Monroe’s shoes.

Finally, Woodson benched Smith for a game.

Smith said he learned to “be a professional,” but a few days later, he was benched again for being late and complaining about his minutes. Again, Smith returned to the lineup and has received big minutes.

Oh, and he’s played really poorly this season.

Woodson is very good to Smith. If the Knicks fire Woodson, they’d be hard-pressed to find anyone on this planet – unless they make Chris Smith their head coach – who gives Smith such a long leash.

As Smith obviously knows, the Knicks have fallen way short of expectations. They’re 19-30 – on track for their first losing season in four years, reversing their steady improvements since 2010.

Often, that scenario means the coach gets fired. So, it’s no surprise Smith feels this way:

Woodson isn’t beating around the bush anymore, either:

One of those players is Smith, who has produced at his worst levels since he was a 19-year-old rookie. If he wants to help Woodson keep his job, Smith must focus more on the court than he has most of the season.

And you know what? He actually has lately.

In the 11 games since his second benching, Smith is averaging 18.1 points per game, shooting 47 percent from the field and 46 percent on 3-pointers. The Knicks are just 4-7 in that span and have lost their last three, so Smith alone won’t save Woodson’s job.

But credit Smith for backing his coach through his play.

Woodson rewarded Smith with playing time on the assumption Smith would find his way out of his funk, and it might have worked. The coach has made more than his fair share of mistakes this season, but this might be one move he got right.

Now, Woodson must just find some way to get the Knicks’ other veterans to pick up their play for him. He can’t give them all a ton of playing time no matter their faults. There are only so many minutes to go around, and Smith already has a firm grasp on many of them.

  1. thekingdave - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:09 PM

    Smiths loyal to Woodson for one reason. He was “trying to get the pipe.”

    • av416 - Feb 7, 2014 at 3:31 AM

      I don’t know what’s worse, the grammar in this article or the Knicks’ chances of making the playoffs.

      • spursareold - Feb 7, 2014 at 9:37 AM

        “Which is worse”, not “what’s”. What is singular, and shouldn’t be used for comparing two things.

  2. csbanter - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    Smith contract is guaranteed Woody Woodpecker could be the next coach, he wouldn’t care. JR is all about JR

    • ranfan12 - Feb 6, 2014 at 9:50 PM

      but when mike got fired last season, he was still getting paid from the lakers lol

      • mannyicey - Feb 7, 2014 at 7:03 AM

        Mike Woodson or Mike Brown? Do they look alike to you?

      • ranfan12 - Feb 7, 2014 at 9:28 AM

        Nah, I just failed at making a point and I forgot what it was anyway

  3. odenxx - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:12 PM

    Just fire him already. He’s lost the team, his rotations are terrible. You need look no further then what happens immediately when they come from a timeout .whatever he’s doing ,whatever he draws up ,doesn’t work!

  4. thomaskouns - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:39 PM

    Woodson may not be a perfect coach but the Knicks are far from a perfect team.

    If the Knicks get a new coach and they still struggle, it’s all on the players, management & ownership (Dolan).

  5. senorpapino - Feb 6, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    I get so sick of NBA players/media blaming the coach. He consistently won 50+ games a year in Atlanta and the Knicks had the #2 seed last year. Has he become a significantly worse coach overnight? Or is the real problem players like Bargiani (sp?), JR Smith, Felton, etc.? It doesn’t matter who the coach is – this team as constructed isn’t winning anything of importance.

    • alexmortier20 - Feb 6, 2014 at 8:53 PM

      He had actually only won over 50 games once in ATL, in his last season.

  6. sportsfan18 - Feb 6, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    It’s the #1 player on the teams fault… Melo.

    Let’s see, Melo is in his 11th season, so he’s had the chance at the ring 10 times so far.

    “But lost amid the Knicks’ swoon is that Carmelo Anthony has been setting an individual record for postseason futility. The Wall Street Journal noted after New York’s first loss in the series that it was Anthony’s 50th career playoff game, and that he had the worst won-loss percentage of anyone to make that many postseason appearances in the last 20 years.

    Since then, Anthony has been in two more playoff defeats, leaving him with a 16-36 (.308) career record.

    Anthony is the only bona fide superstar among the worst 10 playoff winning percentages.” The Knicks then lost game 4 to the Heat in the 2012 playoffs after the info above was written. So Melo’s record fell to 16 and 37.

    Then you get to add 6 wins and 6 more losses for what the Knicks did last yr in the playoffs.

    Melo, for his career, is as follows in the playoffs:

    22 wins

    43 losses

    • sportsfan18 - Feb 6, 2014 at 10:28 PM

      Melo’s playoff winning percentage 33.8%

      Magic’s playoff winning percentage 74.0%

      MJ’s playoff winning percentage 66.5%

      Tim Duncan’s playoff winning % 63.1%

      Larry Bird’s playoff winning % 60.4%

      Shaqfu’s playoff winning % 60.1%

      Kobe’s playoff winning % 63.6%

      How’d we ALL miss what his name really was all along… Melo, Melow, meLow, meLOW…

      • bkbell3 - Feb 9, 2014 at 5:02 PM

        I believe most of those years melo went into the playoffs as a 7th or an 8th seed, not going to many finals in the west from those seeds. Also look at the guys on the teams you mentioned,Bird had 3 hall of famers in DJ,Mchale and chief plus great roll players. MJ’s teams had pippen and rodman and reloaded every year with roll players like tony kucho? and bison dele and Steve kerr. Duncan had ginobli and Parker and POP and a host of roll players. Kobe had shaq and odum and fisher etc plus PHIL. And magic had oh I don’t know someone named Kareem and worthy,big shot bob and bob macadoo and PHIL.So who has melo had? Cricketts?

      • bkbell3 - Feb 9, 2014 at 5:05 PM

        Scratch odom

  7. onlyavoice - Feb 6, 2014 at 10:18 PM

    Wanna-Be Woody should have been fired last season.
    He didn’t have a clue last post season & cost the Knicks the 1 chance of going further.
    Kidd didn’t Bolt for no reason, Woody turned on him also. Kidds voice & play making is what made the Knicks play good last season. (Until Woody took over come post season)

    Kidd being a 1st time coach with Zero experience is a better coach than Woody.
    Fire Woody & watch again as multiple teams pass on him like they did before the Knicks made
    him an assistant to D’Antoni.
    The 1 problem the Knicks cannot fail on is letting Melo hand pick his coach in hopes to resign him,
    or they’ll just have another Yes Boy (Woody) for Melo.

  8. cpcheung - Feb 6, 2014 at 11:27 PM

    Even an idiot can understand that the fault is not Coach Woodson. The fault belongs to Melo and Dolan! Coach has no power in Knicks!

  9. donniebiggest - Feb 7, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    Take Smith when you go.

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