Knicks guard J.R. Smith is off to one of the best starts of his career. He’s scoring 18.2 points per game, and his Knicks squad off to an undefeated start going into their game Thursday night. But Smith thinks he knows why he’s playing so well – he’s stopped partying.
Smith told reporters in San Antonio on Thursday that it was the main reason he is finally showing some consistency in his play.
“I’m not going to lie. 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 said.
Smith is an enigmatic player, blending incredible athleticism and unlimited shooting range with boneheaded mistakes and indifference. He’s let his temper get the best of him, and he’s worn out his welcome in Denver and overseas. But so far this season, he’s showing the Knicks they made a good choice in bringing him back.
Said Smith: “Every day I’m getting into the gym, getting in as much work as I can. 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.”
The New York City nightlife is tempting, but there’s always the offseason for that.