J.R. Smith played for the New York Knicks Sunday, making an amazing debut. Smith’s first Knicks game started off with a bang as he was inserted with just over three minutes off the clock in the first quarter. Starting shooting guard Iman Shumpert got called for two quick fouls guarding Dirk Nowitzki and coach Mike D’Antoni decided to go with Smith as the first player off the bench.
Smith scored 9 points in the first quarter alone, including a deep three-pointer on his first shot with the Knicks. It got the Madison Square Garden fans behind him right away, and hitting two more in the quarter certainly didn’t hurt either. Point guard Jeremy Lin also started out hot, scoring 10 points in the first quarter; including a runner as time was running out on the first quarter. It may have been more impressive that he didn’t have a single turnover in the first 12 minutes either.
It really looks right Smith is the perfect fit for this Knicks team and that when Carmelo Anthony finally returns from injury it is going to become even more impressive. He helps to spread the floor, can catch and shoot as quickly as anyone not named Ray Allen and has a quickness that will make everyone else on the floor better. As long as he keeps buying into what D’Antoni is going, the Smith signing could end up as one of the free agent “steals” of the 2011-12 NBA season.
What do you think about the New York Knicks bringing in J.R. Smith? Can he become the key off the bench to take this team deep into the 2012 Eastern Conference Playoffs?