Only two weeks, ago, J.R. Smith said that the triangle offense was “going to take a few months” to learn. So it’s no surprise that the New York Knicks’ notorious chucker is still adjusting to his team’s new offensive scheme with the regular just days away. As Smith admits, his prior basketball mentality makes playing in the triangle “a struggle.”
A charmingly candid yet naive Smith says that his score first, second, and third ways of the past are contributing to his present inability grasp Derek Fisher’s offense. The 2013 Sixth Man of the Year even concedes that this is the first time in his career that he’s been forced to put the team’s wellbeing above his shot-happy id.
Via ESPN New York’s Ohm Youngmisuk:
“Yeah, absolutely,” Smith said when asked if he has had to make a conscious effort to play differently. “I mean, believe it or not, being the type of player I’ve been, it’s a struggle. I’m not going to lie.
“Trying to think about the rest of the team over myself or my scoring is something that I never really had to do before,” Smith continued. “I’ve always been in a situation to score, [now I’m] in position to take my time and let the game come and let my teammates succeed more than myself, I think that’s the ultimate win.”
It’s encouraging that Smith understands the value of putting the team’s best interest above his own. That’s what basketball is all about, and the triangle even puts extra emphasis on we-not-me. Smith knows he has to change his game, and seems receptive to doing while realizing the difficulty of that endeavor. All good things.
But that Smith would readily admit to never having thought “about the rest of the team over [himself]” is absolutely comical. We all knew that – it’s been plainly evident since he entered the league as a teenager in 2004. And frankly, Smith has been wildly successful considering that wholly debilitating mindset.
Offering it to the public, though? It’s either a stroke of genius hoping for empathy or further indication of how far removed Smith is from reality. Considering his well-known on- and off- court personas, the latter scenario seems more likely than the former.
Either way, at least Smith knows he has to change. We’ll see if his plays back up that talk when the Knicks open 2014-2015 on Wednesday against the Chicago Bulls.
What do you think?
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