Gotta give JR Smith a lot of credit
I see so many positives. For one, he's a much better defender than I ever realized. Guy plays top-notch defense -- maybe not quite on Shumpert's level but almost, maybe just a small notch below. That's two great defenders at 6'5" & 6'6". Plus I think Landry's pretty good defensively too. So make that 3 wings over 6'5" that can play good defense. Very impressive..
Another big positive I see is his outstanding one-on-one play. Let's be honest: with the new full-throttle, all-out committment to team defense, our guys are dog-tired at the end of these games. That's where a guy like Smith becomes so vital -- he has the ability to square up a guy and go get his own shot whenever he wants and more importantly whenever the team needs that extra boost. How crazy is this: normally this statement would be crazy but as of right now, I think it's 100% true: Smith is our best one-on-one player right now. No question about it. Think about how crazy that is considering we just added him a few games ago and considering we also have Carmelo Anthony on this team. It's nuts, but until Melo finds his mojo, that's how I see it. So important to have a guy like that. Smith looks like he can go get his own shot far easier than Anthony at this point. I think this is why Woody's going with him over Fields to close out some of these games. Being able to go get a shot against anyone and any defense and at the end of a game when key players may be scuffling, are being overplayed and/or are just plain gassed, not to mention when plays break down is so friggin' huge.
And the third big positive (and just like his defense, something I also wasn't fully aware of), this guy's a decent passer and very unselfish. As good a one-on-one guy as he is, he's no black hole...This guy sees the court very well and is actively looking to make plays for others, esp. off the dribble where he's nearly unstoppable.
Very impressed with JR so far. Fits like a glove on this team with that 2nd unit.