Jan 2, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith (8) drives to the basket while guarded by San Antonio Spurs forward Matt Bonner (15) during the first half at AT

San Antonio Spurs Weekly: Can the Spurs Tame J.R. Smith?


The San Antonio Spurs had a solid undefeated week, which is the first of possibly four more weeks without Tiago Splitter. So far, the team has held its own when guarding talented frontcourts and have actually gotten its name in the mix of trade rumors, which never happens.

The Spurs frontcourt has done solid work so far. Jeff Ayres had a great week, defending the likes of Zach Randolph in the 110-108 win on the road against Memphis on Tuesday. He also did a good job with Kevin Love, who finished 3-for-14 from the field in the 104-86 Spurs win on Sunday. His energy is contagious and he’s slamming dunks like Spurs fans haven’t seen in a very long time.

Jeff Ayres doesn’t even play consistent minutes and probably already has more dunks on his own than any player on the team last season. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports.

Tim Duncan has been his usual self, averaging 18.7 points and 12.3 rebounds over the past week and continuing to show that age isn’t slowing him down. Though his numbers aren’t as big, Duncan is still as dependable for production as ever.

Boris Diaw did an amazing job of stepping up as well when needed on defense. He did most of the work guarding Dirk Nowitzki in the 90-112 victory on Wednesday, and continues to look for scoring opportunities he passed up last season.

What’s This About the Spurs Interested in J.R. Smith?

The Spurs were interested in J.R. Smith before his antics this season. Is he worth the risk? Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Executives around the league are still trying to recover from laughing so hard at the thought of J.R. Smith having any trade value for the New York Knicks. It’s pretty clear that Smith’s antics have gotten him on the bad side of New York and teams are staying away. However, the Spurs may be one team to give him shot.

According to former Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl, the Spurs are interested in Smith, and have been for quite awhile. Early on in Smith’s career when he was with the New Orleans Hornets, the Spurs made a run to acquire him but failed. He also didn’t give real consideration to San Antonio in his following free agency period.

A change of atmosphere can be just what Smith needs, since he’s never been on a true contending team.

However, the only trade I can see fitting for the New York Knicks would be something along the lines of packing Danny Green, Nando De Colo and either a prospect or future draft pick. Green can still turn it on at times and get hot from outside, while De Colo isn’t going to break the Spurs rotation anytime soon and can also use a change of scenery.

The Spurs aren’t a team to make trades that affect the rotation during the season, but Smith can benefit from a championship environment, a system that gives him better looks and playing with stars and role players that know how to coexist.

Are the Spurs likely to give serious interest to Smith? Probably not.

We’re talking about the Spurs here. The player with the worst reputation the team has acquired in the last ten years is Stephen Jackson, and he already had ties to the Spurs from contributing to the 2002-03 championship. Smith has made a lot of boneheaded mistakes, and San Antonio is a place that truly takes professionalism into account.

Looking Ahead

Jan. 13 @ New Orleans Pelicans
Easily the most athletic big man with loads of potential, Anthony Davis is going to be a big problem for the Spurs when the team visits New Orleans. Former Spurs player and assistant coach, now Pelicans head coach Monty Williams has been having a rough time lately though. After having to coach the team without Davis, he now has to deal with the absence of Jrue Holiday, who suffered a right tibia stress fracture.

Jan. 15 vs. Utah Jazz
It’s Utah. They’re tanking for Wiggins, and there should be no reason why the Spurs don’t handle this one from beginning to end.

Jan. 17 vs. Portland Trail Blazers
It seems as though the Blazers have had the Spurs’ number lately, but this time they seem to be a real threat in the playoffs as well. Portland gave the Spurs its first loss of the season and the Spurs need to fight back and show they can handle the team from Rip City.

Jan. 19 vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Perhaps the team will never get to play against former Spur Gary Neal in a Bucks uniform. In the last game against the Spurs, Neal sat out due to injury and this time he’s being shopped hard in the trading block as it appears the Milwaukee experiment has already come to an end.

Tags: Boris Diaw Jeff Ayres Jr Smith San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan