New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson thinks the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith “needs to grow up.”
Woodson is not happy that Smith was suspended five games by the NBA for violating the anti-drug policy.
“I’m not going to throw him out to the pasture,” Woodson said via the Associated Press. “My job is to coach him and make sure something like what happened doesn’t happen again. That’s what we do as coaches, and I expect his teammates to show him love. But at the end of the day he’s got to do the right thing by J.R. and his teammates, and me as a coach and this organization and the fans that support him. I mean, that’s what it’s all about.
“He’s got to grow up and do the right things.”
Smith is still recovering from knee surgery, and Woodson isn’t sure when he will be able to return. But once the guard is healthy, he will miss his first five games.
“You talk about missing the first five games, I’m not happy about it,” Woodson said. “But hey, we know what we’re facing and we’ve got to get through it, and we’ve got to make sure that he understands it’s something that can’t happen again.”
Smith was asked Wednesday if he had something to prove after all of the negative publicity he has received lately.
“I think every day I step into the gym I have something to prove, not to anybody else but to myself,” he said. “I feel I can always get better. I have so much room for improvement, and I just want to be the best player I can be. Right now I’m not at the elite level yet.”