J.R. Smith, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year and the Knicks second leading scorer, had fluid build up on his left knee during the playoffs according to Marc Berman of the Post.
The Post has learned J.R. Smith’s nightmarish playoff performance was partly because of a swollen left knee that contained fluid buildup.
According to a league source, Smith likely will have his knee drained of the fluid in the next two weeks — the same procedure Anthony underwent in March. So Smith’s struggles weren’t only about his sharp elbow in the Celtics series, alleged hangover and viral infection.
Smith had played with a swollen knee since March, but it acted up severely in the playoffs. The swollen knee is the same condition Anthony dealt with this season until he finally had it taken care of. The Knicks called Anthony’s issue “soft tissue fluid collection.”
“[Smith's] been playing hurt,” the league source said. “He probably should’ve sat out a couple of games. It’s what Melo had. That’s why he wasn’t driving the ball like he was. That’s why his jump shot wasn’t right, not having the lift.”
Smith struggled in the playoffs after Game Three against the Celtics. In that game he elbowed Jason Terry in the face in the fourth quarter, was ejected, and then suspended for Game Four.
He shot 29% in the series loss against the Pacers and was part of some off the court drama including late night partying with the singer Rihanna.
Smith has a player option for this season that most believe he will opt out of making him a free agent. The Knicks have his “early bird rights” and can offer him a contract of up to four years at just about five million dollars per season.
Well if the story is true, that certainly explains a lot about his poor performance in the postseason.
This injury is the same one that really affected Melo at the beginning of the Mid-March west coast trip before he decided to have his knee drained.
For Melo, it helped him finish the season strong after missing the end of that trip and helped propel the Knicks on a 13 game winning streak.
J.R. is a proud player and if he did deal with this injury, then he showed heart playing through it. In my opinion, he should have instead had it drained and miss a few games in an attempt to try to be 100%.
He must have had an idea that something was wrong and that playing hurt, considering his slump, was only hurting the team.
He shot so poorly in the final eight games of the postseason aka the eight games after he elbowed Jason Terry in Game Three against Boston.
I really never believed the narrative that the elbow and missing Game Four hurt his shooting. But, it really was the only explanation anyone had for his poor play, until now.
J.R. had a great season, culminating with the Sixth Man of the Year Award, but his postseason left a lot to be desired. He has said he wants to return to New York, but that is certainly not a guarantee.
I’m a fan of Smith’s and I do want him to return to the Knicks next season. I hope that next season he is 100% come playoff time and has a chance to prove to the world he can play in the playoffs and play well.