After seven inconsistent seasons and too many bouts with head coaches it seems JR Smith has finally shown the maturity to handle his talent, at least we hope.
After two star-studded performances in which he scored 30 points and grabbed eight rebounds with ease against the Phoenix Suns and followed that with a double-double (20 and 10) against the Milwaukee Bucks, it looks like the young, inconsistent guard is taking the next step to be a star in the League.
“His energy has been good, he was the best player on the practice court on Tuesday,” Coach George Karl said after the Nuggets won their fifth consecutive game. “When you bring intensity and professionalism to his game, we can work around the other mistakes. It’s when he has a combination of lack of professionalism combined with crazy mistakes on the court, that it gets difficult to manage.”
Nuggets fans are cringing right now, wondering when the bad JR will make his appearance, but for right now Smith is playing at an All-Star level and nobody can stop him or his energy.
Statistically, Smith has been average scoring a little over 10 points a contest and shooting 40 percent from the field and 40 percent from behind the arc. However, three things that have stood out with Smith this season. He has been attacking the glass (averaging a career-best 4.2 rebounds) and keeping his turnovers to a minimal (.8 a game).
Defensively, Smith still tends to fall asleep at times and his opponents still try to attack him. But off the ball he is dangerous, picking up two steals that led to fast break baskets against the Bucks.
While it is too early to give JR the star label, but you can start trusting him again – for now.