Mike Woodson Willing to Bench JR Smith if Struggles Continue

by May 09, 2013

New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson says he may keep JR Smith glued to the bench longer if he doesn’t fix his broken jump shot soon. Smith, who often frustrates Woodson, can’t seem to find the basket of late (he was 4 of 15 in Game 1 against Indiana in the 102-95 defeat, and 3 of 15 in Game 2 as the Knicks evened up the series with a 105-79 romp.) Per Newsday: “He has shot only 26 percent (15-for-57) since he returned from his one-game suspension during the first-round series against the Celtics. Woodson said on ESPN Radio Wednesday that he is not afraid of sitting Smith on the bench for longer periods of time if his shooting woes continue and the Knicks find themselves in need of offense. ‘I’ll gauge J.R. as we go along and if I feel he’s not giving me anything, I could always turn to other guys on that bench,’ he said. ‘I feel good about the guys who come in off the bench, just like I feel good about J.R. But if he’s struggling and I feel the need that I got to pull him, I will do that as the head coach.’ Smith clearly was frustrated with his offensive ineptitude on Tuesday night, but his teammates have encouraged him to keep shooting. And Woodson has stuck with him thus far, too. ‘I’m not going to kick him to the curb,’ he said. ‘He’s a big part of what we did this season.’ […] ‘I think he’s giving us a lot defensively,’ Woodson said. ‘That’s why he’s staying out on the floor because he’s holding his own defensively. He’s rebounding some for us at his position. But he is and has struggled offensively and it’s my job as the coach, the staff and his teammates, we got to get him out of his funk and get him back to playing like we know he’s capable of playing.'”