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Monday, August 6th, 2012 at 10:50 am  |  31 responses

JR Smith Thinks the New York Knicks are Title Contenders … on Paper


On paper, and theoritically speaking, the New York Knicks are contenders for the 2012-’13 NBA championship. According to JR Smith, anyhow. From ESPN: “Right now with the talent we have, what it says on paper is championship all day. But it’s a matter of us going out there and doing it,’ Smith said. Smith says he goes into every season with a ‘championship or bust’ mentality. But that’s particularly true this season. Smith believes the moves the Knicks made in the offseason give them enough talent to ‘compete with anybody.’ ‘It’s just a matter of us being smart with our talents and making the right plays,’ Smith said. The Knicks added Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Raymond Felton and Ronnie Brewer Jr. this summer. They also re-signed Steve Novak and Smith and let Jeremy Lin and Landry Fields walk. Whether that’s enough to compete with the likes of Miami and Boston in the Eastern Conference is very much open for debate. New York lost to the Heat, 4-1, in the first round of last year’s playoffs. Smith says that Knicks team had enough talent to compete with the Heat but ‘injuries and mental breakdowns’ kept them from doing so. He thinks things will be different this year. ‘I never go out there for anything less than a championship. So first round, second round, third, semis, that’s not good enough until we bring that gold ball back,’ Smith said. ‘It’s my ninth year, (Carmelo Anthony’s) 10th year, we’re not getting no younger so we’ve got to start getting some Ws.’”

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  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Different toilet same sh*t, different year same sh*t from Knick players, fans and media.
    How about focus on getting out of the 1st round for a change?

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Not with Melo still only being interested in shooting and Amar’e being completely lost on the floor with Melo. Felton isn’t too much of an upgrade from Lin if he’s an upgrade at all. Camby and Kidd are old. I don’t see it. Miami is the easy favorite. No close second.

  • Fat Lever

    Knicks need Shump back to lock down on Wade and other elite wing players to really compete. I like his game a lot and in a shortened season really laid claim to one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA already.

  • LA Huey

    JR and Granger proping up their paper contenders…

  • vctmac

    i say this is their year. jr has the green light for the 2 spot. that good be reaaaaaaally goood or reallllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyy bad. its a guess. ronnie brewer is their when they need defense, novak can streth out the floor. they also have 4 big men in a league where they are hard to fine , and they are in the talks of signing a 5th, anderson birdman. this is good for their defense. as soon as shump comes back, thts gna be perfect for 2nd string 2 guard who has great offence and great defense. they added leadership and experience with kidd and brought back a gritty-streaky point guard in felton. felton and smith/melo go back. kidd and smith/shump is gna be exciting to wacth this year.
    remember kidd/carter excelled. hopefully smith/kidd will aswel.

  • ByAnyMeansNecessary

    Bottom line, no one on this team can guard LeBron. Shumpert can keep up with Wade especially with Wade getting past 30. I’d say they don’t have anyone who can stay with Bosh consistently either. We all know Amar’e isn’t what I’d call a great or even good defender. If Tyson has to guard Bosh, it takes him out of the lane making it easy for LeBron to get to the rim. If they don’t get a top 4 seed, they’ll be done in the first round again.

  • deadeye wong

    Does anyone other than the Smith fam (I’m assuming?) care what JR has to say?!!

  • http://www.nba.com/knicks danpowers

    the knicks have been championship contenders on paper since melo arrived. but health and chemistry issues ruined the last two postseasons. if the knicks can manage these two aspects this season, the conf finals should be a log

  • http://www.nba.com/knicks danpowers

    amare looked good quite good on d in 2011 when he was healthy n he seems to be healthy again after a season to forget. with smith shumpert and brewer they can make life tough for any perimeter player come playoff time. shump just has to be healthy and in game shape by then. health is the knicks achilles tendon, all the chemistry issues will be resolved during camp and preseason games. mind my words guys

  • http://slamonline.com Krishan

    You mean toilet paper? Cause this team is $hit.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Amar’e has never looked good on defense. Especially in 2011 when he was giving up some of the most ridiculous numbers ever.
    .
    .in 2011, Kevin Love had a 31 and 31 game against Amar’e and the Knicks.
    .Nazr Muhammad had a 21 and 20 game.
    .Blake Griffin went for idk, 36 and 17 against Amar’e
    .
    And no, the Knicks have never been championship contenders, on any type of paper.

  • ChipS

    This is not the first time a NBA player has said this and it won’t be the last. But why is it a problem when JR or another Knick says it? Key words: On Paper! Nothing wrong with that. It’s not like he said, “We’re gonna destroy this year, We’re the best team in the league”. You don’t know think they know that they have to get out the first round,‘It’s my ninth year, (Carmelo Anthony’s) 10th year, we’re not getting no younger so we’ve got to start getting some Ws.’”. As always, Slam, one of my favorite sites, only get half the story. Why no mention that he said this at a House Of Hoops event for his charity surrounded by KNICK FANS. Same thing with the Melo article, why cut Coach K, D’Antoni, Coach Boeheim, and LBJ quotes? I know how this site works though, but those were big parts of each article.

  • iLL wiLL

    J.R. is amusing.

  • miagus23

    I dont see this happening. Ima go and say Miami and Indiana to compete for the Eastern Conference

  • http://www.nba.com/knicks danpowers

    @nbk: he will never be a premier one on one defender. at least he played some nice helpside defense n came up with 1,9bpg and 0,9spg that year was nice and i remember that he didnt play against those guys directly for he switched between center and power forward. plus the knicks really sucked on defense during the dantoni years. the only thing that year that he didnt do well was his rebounding, i will never get why that guy naver came up with 10+rpg. whatever, now knicks got chandler

  • http://www.nba.com/knicks danpowers

    for the rebounding

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Rebounding is part of defense, i can tell you why he doesn’t have good rebounding numbers. Because he lacks intelligence, awareness, and effort on defense. Always has, always will. His BPG and SPG numbers are cute, but they don’t actually mean he was a good help defender. If he was, how do you explain someone going for 31 and 31 with him on the court? As a help defender, off the ball, as the only other big on the court, his job would be to grab rebounds and protect the rim. If a rookie, Kevin Love, and Nazr Muhammad have the best games (both rebounding and scoring) with Amar’e on the court, he is either A) one of the worst individual defenders in the league, B) one of the worst help defenders in the league, or C) Both.

  • http://www.nba.com/knicks danpowers

    i didnt say he was a premiere defender and i wont say he didnt have off nights but he showed up as really improved on this part of his game. what he did b4 was worse. but sometimes bigs also had good games against ben wallace, dwight howard or mutombo in their primes. happens to the best. i also know that steals and blocks dont necessarily mean good d. they just indicated that he played with more effortt that year. and i really hope he gets back to that and shows up healthy this year.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Dan, technically, last season, was Amar’e's best season ever on defense. You know that right?
    .
    .There is a difference between having an off night defensively, and repeatedly giving up the best games of guys careers in the same season. Ben Wallace, Dwight Howard, and Dikembe Mutombo, probably never gave up the best game of a guys career, unless that guy so happened to be Shaq.
    .And 2011, that was, statistically, the 2nd worst defensive season of his career. TO say you don’t know what your talking about, would be more than accurate.

  • http://www.nba.com/knicks danpowers

    i think youre exaggerating a little bit here. i saw every knicks game of that season and yes, the whole team sucked on defense. that was awful to watch but stat didnt have the worst defensive season of his career. plus he was shifted between center and power forward and didnt even guard these guys for the whole time. what stats do you mean when you say it was statistically his worst season on defense? thats simply not true

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    .His defensive rating (108) was the third worst of his career.
    .His opponent PER (20.3) was the second worst of his career.
    .The team defense gave up 5 less points PER 48 minutes without him, tied for worst in his career
    .
    And again, whether he was or wasn’t guarding those guys is pretty much irrelevant, as i said,.
    “As a help defender, off the ball, as the only other big on the court, his job would be to grab rebounds and protect the rim. If a rookie, Kevin Love, and Nazr Muhammad have the best games (both rebounding and scoring) with Amar’e on the court, he is either A) one of the worst individual defenders in the league, B) one of the worst help defenders in the league, or C) Both.”

  • http://slamonline BossTerry

    Sure, they look good on paper, but have you seen them *Jim Breuer voice* on weeeed??

  • LA Huey

    nbk, needs to put away the cot damn ether already.

  • SiMoney

    As much as I hate when NBK puts out these efficiency stats and ratings, I agree with him 100% about Amare…for you to be 6’10 or 6’11, athletic, and have a body like you do, and cant even manage to average ATLEAST 10 rebounds a game, thats a waste…Amare to me has always been overrated, he doesnt box out or get into position and he, like NBK said, looks beyond lost on defense a lot of times…

  • SeanMagicJuan

    Top 5 Underachieving Rebounders of All Time.
    1. Shaquille Rashaun O’Neal. CRPG- 10.9 Should be 17. (Or even higher)
    2. Rasheed Abdul Wallace CRPG- 6.7 Should be 12
    3. Amar’e Carsares Stoudemire CRPG 8.8 Should be 11.5
    4. Dirk Werner Nowitzki CRPG 8.3 Should be 10.5
    5. James Ager Worthy CRPG 5.1 Should be 8.5

    All great, but all should have averaged a lot more rebounds.

  • http://www.nba.com/knicks danpowers

    i agree on the rebounding issue but didnt know about this efficiency ratings. i know that he played for dantoni in phoenix too where he had better defensive years statisticall. the thing for me is that these numbers dont show everything. i said he is not a great defender and wasnt one neither. i am still convinced that he put more effort into defense in this year 2011. he was rotating quite ok for his means. it made him look bad quite often when he was on the last end of opposing cutters n drivers in a non existant defensive system. i think the only big men whos numbers wouldnt have looked worse are guys like dwight howard and there aint too many. @nbk: proof to this theory would be if turiaf, williams and mozgovs efficiency stats wouldve been down in this year as well. i didnt count numbers, just recognized that he was at least trying and rotating to challenge and block shots. he obviously decreased in that in 11/12 due to his bad health and mental issue. were his efficiency stats in 11/12 better than in 10/11? this would be a good example of how a defensive system and better team mates also influence these stats

  • J

    @LA Huey. Two teams that haven’t accomplished anything within the past decade are already proping up their teams for the 2013. Both teams got their butts handed to them by the Heat.

  • H212

    I can see the Knicks beating the Pacers probably, but they would need HCA in order to beat the likes of Miami or Boston. I don’t see the Knicks getting past Miami or Boston in the post-season. I would be really surprise if they did.

  • http://bdeue.com rob

    I picture him saying this garbage talk and I laughed

  • actpunk

    I agree with JR, if he doesn’t play next season for Knicks. lolololol.
    Knicks is a decent team to be a playoff contender, but title contender? Not so fast, if Knicks can drastically change to become team player and woodson can do some magic as full-time Knicks’ coach. I am sure the old day might come. (I’m referring old day to Willis Reed and Patrick Ewing Era)

  • clydesays

    On paper, JR? Sure. But games are played on the hardwood where things like defense, rebounding, passing, efficient offense & executing plays usually equals a win. Who knows? Maybe this is the year that Melo & Amare figure out that he has to defend & rebound every minute he’s on the floor. Seems unlikely though…

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