For every season, turn, turn turn, J.R. Smith wants to start, turn, turn ,turn

6 Comments

J.R. Smith’s abilities are both limited by and boosted by his confidence in his abilities. He has every bit of faith that he can make any shot he needs to, most often without the use or help of his teammates. It can propel his team to victory or send his coaches into a deep depression. Feast or famine, bombs over Baghdad, whatever you want to call it, he can score largely in part because of his belief in his ability to do so.

The Knick have their premier ISO scorer in Carmelo Anthony. Smith has come off the bench to provide reserve scoring. But this year, as has happened before, Smith wants to start. From the New York Post:

“I’d rather start. I’ve been playing [eight] years, coming off the bench,’’ Smith said yesterday. “Whether it stays [that way] or goes, I’m going to be same person I am. I prefer to start. I’d rather be a starter. If not, I understand that.’’

“It gets frustrating after a while,’’ Smith said. “People saying, “he’s a sixth man, sixth man, sixth man’’ when you believe you’re a starter. But you have to understand, it’s a team game and have to put individual goals aside.’’

via New York Knicks J.R. Smith is looking to start this season – NYPOST.com.

So he wants to start, but if not, cool. Smith is sensitive to the frustrations he’s given coaches in the past, particularly George Karl in Denver. He wants to do what’s best for the team… he just happens to believe him starting is what’s best. He’s going to get his wish at least in the beginning, with Iman Shumpet and Ronnie Brewer both banged up. Part of it, though, is that Smith can start and not threaten the makeup of the offense. He’s used to deferring to Melo. And that’s the offense in a nutshell. As long as he gives good defensive effort, which he did last season, Woodson won’t mind if he goes ISO from time to time and puts up some, er, unique shots in, er, different situations.

You live with the bad to get the good with Smith, and with his ability to stretch the floor, starting might work out for the Knicks. Most of it will likely depend on Iman Shumpert’s health when he returns.

Suns GM Ryan McDonough: Eric Bledsoe hair-salon claim about tweet was unbelievable

Getty Images
1 Comment

Eric Bledsoe reportedly requested a trade from the Suns before the season then tweeted yesterday:

Clear message?

Apparently not.

After sending home Bledsoe today, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough explained his rationale:

The hair salon! What a wonderful excuse.

Is it true? I’m not going to call Bledsoe a liar. It might be.

It’s also probably true that Bledsoe isn’t long for Phoenix.

Report: Suns send Eric Bledsoe home, expect to trade him

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
7 Comments

In a shocking twist, the Suns firing Earl Watson did not end the dysfunction in Phoenix.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Bledsoe:

That is a first-rate tweet by Bledsoe. It’s great that he’s having fun with the wild situation, because the rest of us sure are amused peering in.

This was always going to be a long season in Phoenix, but things got out of hand in a hurry. The 0-3 Suns have been outscored by 92 – the worst three-game start in NBA history by 16 points. Now, comes the fallout.

At 27, Bledsoe was getting to be a little too old for a rebuild centered on Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender and T.J. Warren. The Suns could have dealt Bledsoe in the offseason. Now, they’re negotiating from a position of weakness.

Bledsoe is a good starting point guard when healthy. He’s earning a reasonable $14.5 million this season and due $15 million in the final year of his contract next season. There should be suitors, and Phoenix can gain long-term assets while stepping up its tank.

But this sure seems like a crisis-control move more than anything else.

Willy Hernangomez ‘mad’ about falling from Knicks rotation

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
2 Comments

Knicks president Steve Mills started his second tenure talking about rebuilding and listed Willy Hernangomez as a core piece.

But Hernangomez, coming off an All-Rookie first-team season, barely played in New York’s season-opening loss to the Thunder– drawing scrutiny.

Then, he didn’t play at all in a loss to the Pistons – eliciting a strong reaction from Hernangomez himself.

Hernangomez, via Fred Kerber of the New York Post:

“The same. I’m still mad,” Hernangomez said. “I cannot help the team win if I’m sitting on the bench. Two games in a row. It’s tough. I have to wait my moment. I cannot say nothing more.”

The Knicks are moving in different directions. Management is talking about building for the future. Coach Jeff Hornacek, who was hired by previous president Phil Jackson, is trying to win now.

There’s a fine line between developing Hernangomez through playing time and making him earn his minutes. Enes Kanter and Kyle O'Quinn might be better right now.

But being marginally better this season won’t get the Knicks anywhere meaningful except lower in the lottery. On the other hand, even on rebuilding teams, winning is most important to a coach’s job security. Earl Watson implemented the Suns’ tanking scheme, and look where that got him.

Hornacek is backed into a corner, and now one of the team’s most important young players is publicly expressing his displeasure. It’s the latest troubling sign in a locker room already suspicious of Hornacek.

Report: Eric Bledsoe requested trade from Suns before season

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Suns guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted yesterday:

In light of Phoenix’s 0-3 start and Earl Watson getting fired yesterday, that sure looks like a trade request. Still, there’s risk in making assumptions about vague tweets.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Why wouldn’t Bledsoe want out? The 27-year-old is in his prime and stuck on a young team that would rather tank than play him.

It’ll be interesting to see how Bledsoe explains the tweet. He previously paid lip service to his situation in Phoenix, but it appears he’s ready to open up. On the other hand, public trade requests typically draw fines from the NBA.