Thursday, October 11, 2007

Karl Not Taking Any Crap

(Boulder-CO) When it comes to J.R. Smith, sometimes you have to understand that he just doesn’t have that fundamental of a game. He didn’t go to college. He is the product of a streetball culture. He is often times more style than substance. But does that make him a bad player? Certainly not. Does that mean that George Karl is going to put up with less than intelligent play and allow any of the aforementioned excuses to glaze over bad play? Don’t bet on it.

In today’s Rocky Mountain News Nuggets report George Karl says in regards to Smith‘s often times less than cerebral approach to the game, “Last year, we tolerated it. This year, it probably won't be tolerated.”

And why should he?

J.R. is now 0-19 from the three-point line dating back to last season’s playoffs, and if it weren’t for all of his aggressive drives to the basket late in the Nuggets first preseason game against the Clippers- plus foul shooting- his box score would have been even uglier than the 4-15 shooting night he finished with.

And let me also tell you that J.R. has some damn stiff competition in Von Wafer. ‘Nila may be entering his first full year of NBA basketball, but he has proven to be a solid ball player at every level of competition up to this point. Furthermore, I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: the one thing that remains constant when the opposition gets bigger, more skilled, cagier, and smarter is the goal’s height, size, and the ability to shoot the basketball. It doesn’t matter if it is the Harlem Globetrotters in different color jerseys just as long as you can put the ball in the basket. The rest of a player’s game may have to change due to the level of competition, but if you can shoot in one league, you can shoot in any.

With all that being said, I do not want to diminish what J.R. Smith could mean to the Denver Nuggets. If he can play headier basketball, make the right pass at the right time, and still incorporate all that flashy streetball stuff into the game than I am all for it. He is a player that can put people in the seats because they know that on any given night at the arena J.R. Smith may blow their mind with an incredible play. And it is sometimes those incredible plays that really boost a team’s morale and sway momentum in the favor of the Nuggets, but the key for J.R. is to learn when and where that kind of play is prudent and when it is not. Because this year if he doesn’t… The Nuggets have far better options than last year and he will find his way back into the dog house of one furious George Karl.

1 comment:

JM said...

You hit the nail right on the head. He's a young guy, who's immense talent has always bailed him out at every other level. Unfortunately for him, he can't do that in the NBA. I may not have liked the way Byron Scott (or George Karl for that matter) handled him over the last 3 years, but they aren't totally wrong. Players that are successful in any sport, are the ones that come early and stay late working on their game and are coachable (MJ was a perfect example of this). Linus Kleiza is a great example of that last year. He would come in 3 hours early and work on shooting and fundamentals. He had a HUGE improvement last year in his game from his rookie year. JR can be a top 20 player in this league if he would stop blaming external influences for his poor performance and toughen up a bit and follow LK's example.

Lastly, he's a prime example as to why drafting players out of high school doesn't happen in the NBA anymore. For every KG or Jermaine O'Neal, or Kobe Bryant, there are guys like JR who are mentally immature to play the game and would benefit from the disciplined approach of the college game.