After landing the 7-seed and nearly getting swept out of the playoffs in the first round by the Miami Heat, it’s hard to say the New York Knicks can make the jump to championship contender next season. Well, J.R. Smith is saying it.
"Right now with the talent we have, what it says on paper is championship all day. But it's a matter of us going out there and doing it," Smith said."It's just a matter of us being smart with our talents and making the right plays.”
The Knicks have consistently underperformed with a very talented roster. I don’t think there’s some magic cure that’s going to suddenly gel them together as a team. Carmelo Anthony will always be an individually focused player. Amar’e Stoudemire is always going to have his struggles outside of the Mike D’Antoni offense run by Steve Nash. And Tyson Chandler can’t find the same role he had in Dallas.
The only hope for the Knicks is if one of these point guards they brought in to replace Jeremy Lin turns out to be a miracle worker. Whether it be Jason Kidd, Raymond Felton or Pablo Prigioni, someone is going to have to step up and take this team by the horns if they’re going to prove J.R. Smith right.
"I never go out there for anything less than a championship. So first round, second round, third, semis, that's not good enough until we bring that gold ball back," Smith said. "It's my ninth year, (Carmelo Anthony's) 10th year, we're not getting no younger so we've got to start getting some Ws."
Unfortunately for Smith, he can talk a big game, but he doesn’t have the skill or the role on the team to back it up. His championship promise is going to fall on the shoulders of his All-Star teammates. It’s a big check to cash in a very competitive Eastern Conference. I know I’m not alone thinking that the Knicks don’t have what it takes, so they’ll be out there trying to prove lots of people wrong.