The Privilege Of Watching J.R. Smith

Matthew Falkenbury

In an article for the New Yorker, author Will Leitch talks about J.R. Smith and all the things he brings to the Knicks in his own special way.

We’re not sure we remember a more giddily entertaining Knicks player than J.R. Smith. How can it possibly be that the Knicks are only paying this guy $2.8 million? Even when he is doing one of those infuriating J.R. Smith things — and there have been fewer of them this season — you know it’s out of effort, creativity, and flat insanity. He’s impossible not to watch, and we haven’t even started in on his Twitter feed yet. If you are looking for someone to take a highly contested, falling away, twisting, contorted, barely looking last-second shot in a tie game you probably deserved to lose but somehow found a way to hang in despite yourself … J.R. Smith is your guy.

It is common knowledge amongst Knicks fans that J.R. Smith is really two players, instead of one. There is “Good J.R.” and then there is “Bad J.R.”.2012-12-26-jr-smith-4_3_r560

When you see him take 27 shots to get 27 points and commit a dangerous, even borderline dirty foul last night, you can consider that “Bad J.R.” But when you are down two with 24 seconds left in the game and he hits two extremely tough shots in row, one at the buzzer, to win that game for you, that is “Good J.R.”

He has moments where he can make you scratch your head wondering just what in the world he is doing out there. For example, in Charlotte he passed up a go ahead two on one fast-break layup so he could, instead, try to win it at the buzzer. But then, he will make you rise out of your seat and say how much you love him. For example, his buzzer beater on the very next play.

The nightly check in to see when was his last tweet the night before and if that has an effect on his performance is treatment most players don’t get. You also don’t see them admitting to the media that they partied too much and didn’t work hard the season before without being questioned about it first.

J.R. Smith is quickly becoming my favorite player on the Knicks, and the most popular player outside of Carmelo, because you just never know what he is going to do next.

One minute he doing something strange, the next, he is doing something beautiful. The magic that is Earl Joseph Smith the Third is one that nobody but himself will ever truly understand. But, when you think about it, we are lucky, because we get the privilege to try to figure him out during the next Knicks game and hopefully for many years to come.