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J.R. Smith with NBA quote of the year candidate: Defense ‘really not my area of expertise’

Washington Wizards v New York Knicks

We often criticize athletes for cookie-cutter, bland and predictable quotes, so arguably we should greet J.R. Smith’s brutal self-assessment of his proficiency at understanding what goes in to being effective on the defensive end of the court as a breath of fresh air.

Smith, who has been having a helluva season so long as he’s being graded on boneheaded behavior, head-scratching antics (see here and here) and defensive shortcomings has found himself in head coach Mike Woodson’s doghouse for his aforementioned conduct, spoke with reporters following a lengthy practice.

The three-hour practice held on Thursday reportedly involved Woodson tinkering with the defense, a definite sore spot that has as much to do with the Knicks sliding further and further along into irrelevancy as the Helter Skelter offense that revolves around Smith, Carmelo Anthony and company just jacking up shots.

Asked to characterize his thoughts, Smith said nothing is working right now.

“Right now we’re pretty much open to anything new,’’ Smith said. “The old stuff isn’t really getting it done. But at the end of the day, it’s going to come from the players. I don’t think it’s coach’s fault or the scheme’s fault. If you play hard and play smart it’s tough to lose games.’’

Defense undoubtedly is the Knicks’ main weakness. And while there are many, many examples available on the Internet of the team’s laughingly awful ineptitude on the defensive end (all you have to do is look for about … five seconds), this play from the Knicks’ brutal 103-80 loss to the Brooklyn Nets provides ample evidence of the team’s defensive dysfunction.

Even Carmelo couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

But back to Smith and his “Quote of the Year” candidate. When discussing Thursday’s practice, Smith dropped the following truth bomb when asked to characterize Woodson’s defensive philosophy.

“That’s really not my area of expertise,” Smith said. “I’m more of a scoring-type player. I’ll leave that to those guys. Whatever they want to do, it’s OK with me. Just let me know.’’

(head asplodes)

True that. Granted, Smith was talking more about defensive concepts as opposed to defensive proficiency but it was nevertheless an amusing comment.

Maybe Smith should stick to air guitar accompaniments during halftime shows and steer clear on discussing defensive philosophies.

[New York Post]

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