Smith involved in various controversies ahead of new season.
New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson has insisted he will support J.R. Smith, but has told him that he needs to “grow up” after recent indiscipline.
The 28-year-old will miss the start of the new season after delaying knee surgery until after he had signed a new deal, while not only becoming embroiled in a war of words with Paul Pierce he recently guaranteed a Knicks title.
In addition, he will definitely miss the first five games of the season after failing the league’s drug test which only served to further compound the disappointment around his summer.
After being crowned Sixth Man of the Year in the regular season, Smith’s lack of form in the play-offs last year was recognised as a significant factor in the downfall of the Knicks.
However, coach Woodson has insisted that he will support his star, but Smith needs to do some thinking for himself and help his team-mates.
“I’m not going to throw him out to the pasture,” Woodson said according to Pro Basketball Talk.
“My job is to coach him and make sure something like what happened doesn’t happen again. That’s what we do as coaches, and I expect his teammates to show him love. But at the end of the day he’s got to do the right thing by J.R. and his teammates, and me as a coach and this organization and the fans that support him. I mean, that’s what it’s all about.
“He’s got to grow up and do the right things,” he concluded.
It remains to be seen what shape Smith will be in after he returns from his lay-off, but Woodson knows that if the Knicks are to harbour hopes of repeating their form from last year, they will need their sixth man to be focused on the task in hand.