It’s pure speculation, sure, but chances are new Knick J.R. Smith did not go to the Far East and find enlightenment during his three-month stay in the Chinese Basketball Association. We do know, though, that he found a green light in his three months balling for Zheijang.
The former Nugget gunner averaged 34.4 points, 7.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 2.5 steals and 4.2 turnovers per for Zhejiang — also the home of ex-UConn and Net forward Josh Boone — in a stint that began with him twisting his knee and calling out management in his first game. Management then came back and said he was faking, and The Great Ball of China began. His team went 15-17, but instead of wins he produced highlights.
Smith shot 51.7 percent from the floor, and a ridiculous 47.8 percent from three. The question the Knicks are asking is, how much will his Chinese game will translate?
You can look at his stay and see the antics with his family members (One translated passage of a story about his sister starting a brawl started: “JR Restless, constantly provocative action and expression”) and combine that with his reputation of taking plays off in the NBA and see a disgruntled player abroad. But even if all he was paid for – the highest salary of the CBA, $3 million – was to simply score, there’s no arguing Smith went off during his stay.
Take a look for yourself with his top five China moments.
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5. Finally, excuse the video’s quality but check out these slams against Jiangsu. On the second, keep an eye out as Dan Gadzuric keeps his back to Smith nearly the entire time before realizing he’s about to be an accessory to a poster dunk.
4. Marcus Williams and Smith went point-for-point on Jan. 8. Shanxi’s Williams dropped 49 while Smith one-upped him with 57 points and 11 boards. This is mainly video evidence that both guys also gave out some assists in the game, too.