Before the Knicks lost to the New Orleans Hornets on Friday, they signed sharpshooter J. R. Smith to a $2.5 million deal in order to address their greatest need - perimeter shooting.
In his debut for the Knicks on Friday, Smith logged 15 points, three rebounds, two assists and one steal. (Reuters/Adam Hunger)
Smith is a career 37 percent three-point shooter, including a 39 percent rate last season, when he averaged 12.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists for the Denver Nuggets. As of Friday, the Knicks were shooting only 30.3 percent from the arc, good for just 26th in the league. He is also an athletic and skilled ball handler and slasher who can break down defenses and penetrate.
But what are the risks?
Despite Smith being a good three-point shooter, and possibly just the up-tempo player Mike D'Antoni's system needs, he likes to shoot the three a lot, whether he is aware of a game situation or not. And, with Jeremy Lin and Carmelo Anthony, three players may command the ball at any given time.
Character-wise, Smith's has had an attitude and temperamental behavior that have led to repercussions. He had a tense relationship with Nuggets coach George Karl, who suspended him for a playoff game in 2007, specifically because of Smith's shot selection; he served a 10-game suspension in the 2006-2007 season for his part in a Knicks-Nuggets brawl at Madison Square Garden, in which he and Nate Robinson wrestled each other into the front row; he served a three-game suspension in 2007 for his part in an incident at a Denver nightclub; and a guilty plea for reckless driving led to a seven-game suspension in 2009.
Smith had 15 points in his debut against the defending-champion Dallas Mavericks Sunday, but only time will tell if Smith becomes exactly what the Knicks need or the proverbial disruptor of team chemistry.
View the slideshow for five other players that the Knicks have taken a risk on in recent history.