People tend to forget that the 2009 Nuggets team would NOT have made it to the Western Conference Finals if not for the services of young 6th Man JR Smith. Chauncey & Melo got most of the credit but JR was extremely focused during that playoff run. I can remember him playing solid D against Kobe, making plays for himself and his team mates. The whole package, much like how he is performing for our Knicks. With that said, JR truly is an All-Star talent when his head is in the game.. and Woody should be credited accordingly for that.
But, the way I see it, Melo's play also seems to have an effect on how JR plays. I can remember 2009 Melo was focused and playing the right way, making the right decisions on and off the court. When Melo's head is in the game, JR is focused in as well. When Melo plays unselfish team ball, JR plays smart unselfish ball as well. It happened in 2008-2009 in Denver, and it is happening again in New York.
Its been an interesting relationship between JR and Melo, they've been teammates for more than five years now. It seems like they have a big brother, lil brother relationship where JR follows on the foot steps of Melo. I'm rooting for both of them to have career years this year. Hopefully, Woody can keep both of them in top game condition with the help of our reliable vets JKidd, Camby, Felton, KT, and Sheed. Right now sky's the limit for our team and both of these gentlemen. I can't wait to see this season unfold.
Let's go KNICKS!!!
Melo for MVP
JR for Most Improved/ 6th Man of the Year