It’s been a different J.R. Smith we’ve seen on-court for the New York Knicks this season, one might say he’s even matured. Smith is having a career year so far, and by his own admission says he’s got a much more professional attitude towards his craft, which is in direct contrast to last season when coach Mike Woodson repeatedly called for Smith to take a look in the mirror and alter his attitude.
Smith says that was a result of too much partying in NYC’s nightclubs.
”I’m not going to lie,” Smith said. ”The New York City nightlife pretty much got to me. I was going out pretty much every other night and not focused on the task at hand.”
Smith has embraced his sixth man role – despite preseason disappointment that he wouldn’t be a starter – and is currently averaging 18 points per game, along with 4.8 rebounds. He credits his new found practice ethic with his success.
“A lot of times previously in my career, I had negative energy coming into the gym, not wanting to be there, joking around, goofing off. This year, it’s been more serious. I understand every road trip we take is a work trip, not just a play trip. You come and work hard. If I work hard, maybe the next guy will see me work hard.”