It's no secret that New York Knicks' shooting guard J.R. Smith has quite the reputation. The man has a list of run-ins with the law, in addition to a long lineage of suspensions, league fines, and backlash from the media due to his prolific antics.
However, his latest suspension may have denoted a change toward a more positive direction. If his performance in Saturday night's Knicks' game was an indicator, it definitely proves that he's making great strides in the right direction.
Smith's stellar performance put 14 points on the board, with six assists, which ultimately contributed to the Knicks' 102-92 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. However, his statements to the press throughout the day may have blemished his performance on the court.
According to CBS News, following the Knicks' game last night, the 2013 'Sixth Man of the Year' told media reporters what he'd learned from his recent experience of being benched. Unfortunately, his admission came with little sincerity.
"Don't goof around, I guess. Be serious. Be a professional. And just don't take this opportunity here you have for granted," he said. "There's a lot of people in this world that want our jobs. You can't take it for granted. It can be taken away just that fast."
Smith's teammate, Carmelo Anthony also chimed in on his perspective of the incident. "I thought he was a real pro tonight, man, despite everything that's going on," said Anthony. "For him to bounce back the way he did today and obviously put that stuff behind him and move forward, that was big-time for him as a person."
"This is a situation that really opened his eyes up, he looked himself in the mirror and hopefully he wants to change, he's got to change," Anthony said. "It's up to him now."
"It's the worst feeling in the world," Smith said in reference to being benched. Earlier this week it was also reported that Knicks' head coach Mike Woodson expressed his frustrations toward Smith's behavior. He referred to Smith as "unprofessional," saying that he needed to "grow up."
On Saturday morning before the game, Smith was asked of his sentiments of Woodson's remarks, he said, "He's been telling me that since I got here," Smith said Saturday morning. "Honestly, 'growing up,' I don't know if I really understand the true meaning of it."
So, now the looming question is, "did J.R. Smith really learn a lesson after being benched?" If he doesn't really understand Woodson's frustration, then the answer is he did not! Hopefully, he makes the needed changes to move forward in a positive directions for the sake of his career.
Image via Twitter | J.R. Smith