Adam ZagoriaKnicks coach Mike Woodson wants J.R. Smith to “grow up and do the right things.”
Woodson made the comment Wednesday in reference to Smith’s upcoming five-game weed suspension.
“I’m not going to throw him out to the pasture,” Woodson said. “My job is to coach him and make sure something like what happened doesn’t happen again. That’s what we do as coaches, and I expect his teammates to show him love. But at the end of the day he’s got to do the right thing by J.R. and his teammates, and me as a coach and this organization and the fans that support him. I mean, that’s what it’s all about.
“He’s got to grow up and do the right things.”
Smith won the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award last year, but things began to go downhill in the playoffs when he was suspended one game against the Boston Celtics for elbowing Jason Terry in the face during Game 3. He was also accused by Rihanna of partying too hard at New York City clubs during the playoffs.
After returning for Game 4, Smith fell into a funk, shooting just 29 percent the rest of the postseason.
“I call it pissing the NBA gods off,’’ Smith said. “You make and make a lot of shots and then you mess with the basketball game and the game gets you back and it definitely got me back.”
Smith also admitted that he delayed surgery on his patella tendon until after he signed an extension with the Knicks, calling it a “family decision.”
He hopes to be ready for the start of the regular season, but faces a five-game suspension, meaning he could play in Game 6 of the season against the Spurs.
“I think every day I step into the gym I have something to prove, not to anybody else but to myself,” he said. “I feel I can always get better. I have so much room for improvement, and I just want to be the best player I can be. Right now I’m not at the elite level yet.”