J.R. Smith needn't worry about his recent shooting slump, because Papa Smith has his back.
The New York Knicks shooting guard has received scores of criticism for his performance during these NBA playoffs. Heading into Game 3 against the Indiana Pacers, Smith has hit on just 15 of his last 57 shots and is averaging 13.0 points per contest on 14.3 field-goal attempts over that four-game span.
I know, yuck.
Aside from his impoverished shooting clip, Smith has also garnered plenty of negative attention for his off-court dealings.
He was berated (along with his teammates) for wearing all black to the Knicks' Game 5 loss against the Celtics and was accused of clubbing the night before he went 4-of-15 from the field in New York's Game 1 loss to Indiana (which he denied). Smith was then seen shooting the breeze with teammate Iman Shumpert and ex-girlfriend (and pop star) Rihanna following a 3-of-15 showcasing against the Pacers in Game 2.
JR Smith @TheRealJRSmith
First an for most I wasn't clubbing before the game so y'all can kill that. Don't try an find reasons when I miss shots! #HopOff5/5/2013, 11:52:08 PM
Critics have taken exception to Smith's social nonchalance in the midst of an appalling offensive rut. Smith's father Earl, however, does not believe his son needs to be sorry for party-rocking (via Marc Berman of the New York Post):
My thing is, those people need to get off the computer and let professional athletes be professional athletes. If they want to go out on a Saturday night, who gives a damn? Who cares? How come you don’t hear about LeBron [James] after he loses? You don’t think LeBron went out the other night [in Miami]? Leave the professional athletes alone. They know what they’re doing.
Everybody likes him when he’s making shots. He’s missing shots now. If he plays like he did [Tuesday] night and they win, I’ll take it. I told him if you play like that and you keep winning, we’ll take it. We’d rather that than he have a great game and they lose.
First things first: I implore you not to heed Earl's computer rant. Stay on it. For the sake of my employment, remain fixated on this page.
I'd also encourage you to dismiss his LeBron James comment. The Chosen One likely didn't go out the "other night." He's in "playoff mode" and has thus isolated himself from the outside world. J.R. should actually take note.
Lastly, shouldn't Earl (and J.R.) take the ridicule in some kind of stride? That we think enough of him to expect him to be better than awful is a slight compliment.
Sadly, it seems Earl has
no idea what the hell he's talking about missed most of the point.
Our problem isn't with Smith's social life; it's with him missing shots. Of course we dislike—hate is too strong of a word—him for his atrocious shooting. His job is to make shots, and when he doesn't make them, he's not doing his job. And it's only because of these missed shots that Smith's off-court endeavors are being scrutinized once again.
Smith can go off on as many benders as he pleases. It's not our job to crucify him for being a social butterfly. As long as he keeps caroming jumpers off the rim, however, he's going to be disparaged for what can be construed as controversial choices.
Although you have to admire a parent coming to the rescue of their child, Earl has to understand that Smith isn't the exception to some unspoken rule. The general public is hating on 'Melo for missing his shots and they'd do the same to LeBron if he was missing his.
"My shot is lost for now," Smith said (via Berman) following the Knicks' victory in Game 2 against the Pacers.
Maybe he left it at a party. Or maybe it's in Boston, where he last shot 50 percent.
Wherever it is, Smith better hope he finds it. His padre can only manufacture delusive LeBron James comparisons for so long.