Recent reports of Carmelo Anthony urging New York Knicks management not to pursue J.R. Smith are not particularly surprising. If anything, they just speak to why so many believe that Anthony is one of the more misunderstood players in the NBA.
According to the New York Post, sources say that Anthony didn’t want Smith on the New York roster. That he tried hard to dissuade his squad from picking up their most recent acquisition, to no avail.
Via the Post:
Contrary to popular belief, Anthony was leery of the Knicks bringing in his former Denver teammate three weeks ago and gave a thumbs down to upper management, according to a person close to the Knicks superstar.
A couple of weeks before the signing, Anthony was asked if the Knicks should sign his former teammate who has a thuggish reputation. Anthony and Smith share the same agent, Leon Rose.
But, according to the source, Anthony was not gung-ho and was “hurt’’ Knicks upper management tossed his advice out the window.
First and foremost, it’s important to note that Smith’s skills are beyond reproach. On top of being a physical freak of nature, the talented shooting guard is actually remarkably skilled when it comes to doing the one thing that’s demanded from folks of his ilk – scoring. Career averages of 12 points per game on 43 percent from the field and 37 percent from threes indicate this much. Even though he’s as susceptible to dry streaks anyone in basketball, his ability to score in a myriad of ways and in absolute droves has been apparent throughout his entire professional career (both here and overseas).
All of that being said, everywhere he goes, Smith brings more baggage with him than a traveling socialite. Whether he’s getting fined $25,000 for tweeting a girl’s backside in a thong, getting in serious trouble for reckless driving or just being a pain to deal with on the court – the problems with this guy never cease to pop up.
And so it would stand to reason that Anthony, knowing Smith from their days in Denver together, wouldn’t want to bring that head trip on board a team already struggling to stay above water this season. Anthony, despite what some would have you believe, is one of the legitimate good guys in this league who really does value winning and success on the court above all else. The common misconception about him has always been that, because he’s a gunner, he’s subscribes to the Kobe Bryant philosophy of “I’m getting my points at whatever cost.” That’s not the case at all. Anthony is a volume scorer because that’s his game. His versatility isn’t exactly LeBron James-esque, and he’s at his most beneficial to a given team when he’s scoring. (Granted, efficiently.)
With the Knicks, specifically, Anthony has resorted to taking all the shot he’s taken because there is literally nobody else to do the shooting. Before the emergence of Jeremy Lin, you had a hobbled Amare Stoudemire and very little else in the way of offensive production beyond what Anthony brought. He’s not selfish. He’s not a ballhog. He really does want what’s best for New York, both on and off the court.
Anthony will most likely deny that he ever said what’s being attributed to him, but it’s probably true that he wasn’t too high on Smith. It wasn’t malicious, of course; the All-Star forward probably just didn’t want to rock the boat during an already tumultuous season with a guy who is prone to doing the stuff that Smith is prone to doing.
With all of the criticism that he gets for his team’s struggles, you’d think that Anthony would be lauded for trying to make a grown up move and attempting to talk management out of making what he perceived to be a bad move.
But apparently when your team is losing – it’s impossible to do anything right.