Knicks guard JR Smith Suspended

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, New York Knicks guard J.R Smith has been suspended five games for violating the substance abuse policy.

This news is very disappointing considering Smith is coming off of the best season of his career. Last season, Smith won the Sixth Man of the Year award, posting averages of 18.1 points per game (ppg) and 5.3 rebounds per game (rpg) off the bench — both career-highs.

In the post-season, JR Smith averaged 14.3 ppg and 4.7 rpg for the Knicks, but did so shooting an abysmal 33.1% from the field. In his defense, Smith was playing through a knee injury that required surgery earlier this off-season.

Smith signed a four-year, $24.7 million contract this off-season, despite the Knicks’ knowledge of his required surgery. What the Knicks didn’t know, however, was that JR Smith had already failed two recreational drug tests, and would be notified of Smith’s third — and suspension-inducing — failed test earlier today.

JR Smith is know as a player with all of the physical tools to be great, but immaturity and inconsistency issues have weighed him down. Look at this past calendar year (August 2012-August 2013).

Just when you want to point out JR Smith’s game-winner against the Bobcats, you remember seeing this:

Just when you want to point out JR Smith’s game-winner against the Suns, you remember seeing this:

Just when you want to point to JR Smith’s hot April, essentially snatching the Sixth Man of the Year award from Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, you remember allegations coming from Rihanna about Smith’s club habits during the season. You remember Smith getting suspended a game for elbowing Jason Terry, then guaranteeing victory once he returned. If you’re a non-Knick fan, you also remember being amused by JR Smith’s production taking a complete nosedive for the duration of the playoffs after making that statement.

In this off-season alone, JR Smith got his money, but then what? Despite having and recovering from knee surgery, he guaranteed the Knicks would win a championship this upcoming season. As (arguably) the second-best player on the Knicks, was he really in position to make that claim, when the team will likely go as far as Carmelo Anthony will take them?

Does today’s news of Smith’s suspension further cement his legacy as a talented player who might not ever get “it” — a guy that will constantly stop himself from being the best he can be? Or is this just another bump on the road for Smith? If you opt for the latter, that’s fine. However, hopefully JR Smith realizes this is yet another unnecessary bump on the road that he could’ve avoided, and he’ll finally mature.

Staff Writer

Follow me on Twitter - @ESPN_Nekias

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