jr smith

Originally published in SLAM 157

When the NBA lockout came, JR Smith was ready. His contract up, the Denver Nuggets guard did something that’s been done for generations—he headed to China to seek his fortune. Well, in his case, more of one.

If the hope was that the mercurial guard would discover the joys of team ball while playing in a foreign land, this wasn’t that kind of movie. He suffered a dubious injury within days, then miraculously recovered and went on a tear—52 points and 22 rebounds in one game, 60 points with 14 threes in another.

But even with all that success, it’s not like JR was seeking Starbury-like nirvana. The NBA was back, and he wanted back in. He had his pick of teams, befitting someone who scored 122 points in just two games. He chose the New York Knicks, already enjoying their own fairy tale story. As for the Mavericks, well, they’re last year’s news.

Russ Bengtson

At the 1:37 mark below…