With ESPN’s hit show “First Take” in LA for the Espys,, lots of your favorite athletes and celebrities hit the set to chat with Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith and Cari Champion. New York Knicks guard JR Smith was one of those athletes. Smith spoke about the Knicks tumoltous ’13-’14 season. For Smith personally, he ranks it as his worst season as a pro – in terms of numbers, his rookie year was statistically worse, but I think this was about overall.
Smith admitted to not being in shape and not focusing. He also addressed the shoelace untying incident from the season, and Derek Fisher coming on as the head coach.
As far as the team in general, he says it’s unfair to place all the blame on Mike Woodson, and that the team reached a point were they stopped communicating. He says they all had their own ideas about what should happen on the court, agreed to disagree, and stopped caring. Check out the interview.
No, absolutely not, the way I was playing, I was playing like a person who didn’t want to be there, not looking as focused as a person should be in the situation we were in. I wouldn’t blame him at all.”
On his play last season and trying to bring the fun back to the game:
“For one, it’s unacceptable, the whole year,” Smith said. “I’m not going to make any excuses for myself, but coming after knee surgery is a tough thing to come back from. I didn’t expect to be at that top tier where I was. . . . Early on, I put so much pressure on myself to come back — first after the suspension, and after being hurt — to be back to where I was the year before, winning the Sixth Man. I put so much pressure on myself, us not starting off well, expecting us to do a lot better than we were doing, to try to take some of the pressure off, just have fun with the game, and that’s where the shoe incident came into play. I just tried to ease the tension a little bit and it wasn’t working. . . . Unfortunately, it just so happened to be the worst year I believe I’ve had in the NBA, including my rookie year. I’m just looking to bounce back.”
On the Knicks last season:
“We had a lot of confusion going on as far as what we’re gonna do, as far as schemes and stuff like that. Some people didn’t agree with it, and it just caused confusion. Before you know it, people were just doing what they wanted to do,” Smith said. “We just didn’t agree. We agreed to disagree a lot of times. And everybody knows, in order for five guys to be on the same page, like the Spurs were, move the ball well, to do things exceptionally well like they did to win, what it takes, everybody has to be on the same page, and we weren’t.”
video via ESPN