Will the Denver Nuggets ever learn to harness the natural talent of J.R. Smith? Or is the problem deeper than just an enigmatic player who has mental lapses?
I've often wondered what goes though J.R. Smith's head.
Having seen what he can do on the court, I'm often left astounded, amazed, jaw-dropped, out of my seat screaming for some of the plays that he makes on the court. Other times I'm left wondering if he put any thought into what he just did, or if he understood that shooting your tenth three point shot of the game in a blowout with 5.9 seconds left may not reflect well on him.
Regardless J.R. always makes things entertaining. I've also wondered how George Karl deals with him behind closed doors. I've often been critical of the way Karl handles J.R. by often belittling him in the press and making demonstrative demonstrations of disgust on the bench when he makes a play that Karl may not like. For the record, I'd feel the same way if Phil Jackson was the Nuggets coach - I just feel there's no cause to demean someone even if you are being passive aggressive about it (as both Phil and George are). Yet, I do have some sympathy for the enigma that is J.R. , and the difficulty Karl must have in coaching him.
Perfect example was J.R.'s horrible and bone-headed plays in his limited playing time in the Oklahoma City Thunder game on Tuesday. Which was then followed up by a 23 point stellar outing against the Dallas Mavericks a night later. It's consistent in it's inconsistency. An enigma. So I do have sympathy for Karl for having to coach that. However, learning how to correctly handle a talent like J.R. is a fact of life in the NBA and if the Nuggets are to do anything in the playoffs they will need a huge contribution from J.R Swish. He is undoubtedly the most naturally talented member of the team and I think guys such as Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler can learn create their own shots by watching what J.R does on the court.
I hope he and Karl can put aside their obvious differences and come to the conclusion that, at least right now, they need each other. Best to put aside grudges and work for smashing our opponents in the playoffs.
On with the links.
Nuggets eager for rematch with Oklahoma City after losing at home Tuesday - Benjamin Hochman, Denver Post
Ben Hochman talks to Nuggets players and George Karl about their eagerness to exact revenge on the Thunder for the loss at home on Tuesday.
More on what fueled J.R. Smith in the big Nuggets win - Benjamin Hochman, Denver Post
Some "praise" from Karl about J.R.'s great game. Although, as ever with George and J.R. you feel like Karl is on the verge of dismissing the player's effort in the Dallas game.
Denver Nuggets' George Karl wants Dallas Mavericks in Playoffs - Tim MacMahon, ESPN.com
From the "he probably shouldn't be saying this" file, George Karl opines about his clubs preferential opponent in the NBA playoffs first round.
4/7: Andrew Feinstein with Sandy Clough
Last night, Andy was on 'Clough Talk' to talk about the Nuggets potential playoff opponents, as well as George Karl's playoff record.
NBA Lockout related
Video: NBA Lockout Attack Ads - Kelly Dwyer, Yahoo Sports
(Thanks for the heads up Andy) Some pretty funny parody video's from Basketball Jones about the imminent NBA lockout.
Potential NBA labor issues influenced Phil Jackson - ESPN.com
Phil Jackson says the upcoming labor strife in the NBA played a huge part in his decision to retire from coaching after this season.
Have a great morning everybody!