Why You Have to Like Players Like J.R. Smith

Last night, NBA fans were offered a rare treat when the Melo-less Knicks basically said, “Okay J.R., we’re going to let you hoist every time you touch it, because watching Jason Kidd shoot makes our stomach hurt.” What followed was a game from Smith that makes watching the NBA fun. But hold that thought.

A common conception about the NBA is that compared to college basketball it’s boring, and to the casual fan, I guess that can be true. The reason college basketball is fun to watch is because they’re not quite as great; they still make mistakes on the court, so comebacks are commonplace, missed free throws down the stretch are nearly unavoidable, and impressive 1-vs.-5 performances are still necessary. But in the NBA, this doesn’t happen because every player is so good. They don’t make as many mistakes or miss as many shots, so there aren’t as many in-game swings to make things exciting for fans.

Because there are so many outrageously skilled and talented NBA players, we actually lose sight of how amazing some of these players are. Think about this: on every single NBA team, there is at least one guy capable of scoring 40 points in a given night. It’s true, right? Some teams have two or three, but every team at least has one.

Often, these guys with 40+ ceilings aren’t the stars of the team, and they’re not the best all around player on the court. They might not be committed defensively, or they might be an asshole, so they don’t put up the type of nightly numbers you might think a guy with that scoring ability should. To be honest, you almost have to be a jerk to score like this. You have to be okay with taking bad shots, ignoring your teammates, and playing with a confidence and swagger that you haven’t really earned. In fact, this is what makes these players so entertaining. With these items in mind, I think the best way to describe these guys is “40+ Assholes.”

Here is the “40+ Asshole” criteria:

  • Come off as kind of a jerk
  • Play a little flashier than is necessary
  • Most of your points come from outrageous jump shots
  • After outrageous jump shots, you’ll probably offer some sort of dickish reaction
  • You aren’t a starter (or if you do start, the coach isn’t happy about it)
  • You’ve probably bounced around multiple teams
  • At one time in your career, you’ve played for the Knicks (not a requirement but very likely)

So, I offer a list of my favorite “40+ Assholes” with the appropriate video evidence of why they’re so fun to watch. Enjoy:

J.R. Smith – NY Knicks

It only seems fair to start with J.R. since he inspired this post. Check this out:

And just in case that wasn’t enough, we’ll always have this (RIDE EM COWBOY!!!!):


Jamal Crawford – L.A. Clippers

See what I mean about outrageous jump shots?

And also, if you haven’t seen this yet, you probably should’ve:


Nate Robinson – Chicago Bulls

Nate’s also perhaps the only person ever accused of being “emotionally drunk” (I tried for 40 minutes to find a clip of Van Gundy saying it, but I had to settle for this).


Nick Young – Philadelphia 76ers

I just gagged a little…


Daniel (Boobie!) Gibson – Cleveland Cavaliers

I know his career high was only 31, but he did it on nine shots and 29 minutes, in the playoffs. Feels more like 40, right?


Ben Gordon – Charlotte Bobcats

Gordon’s a little too established for this list, but when you’re on a team with Derrick Rose, and he gets out of your way while you’re getting double teamed, and you score 42, you get your own youtube highlight.


Eddie House – Miami Heat

How is Eddie a 40+ Asshole? After he does this…

This happens:


Call me crazy…

But for me, this is what makes the NBA so fun. So thanks J.R. Smith, for last night. Keep doin’ your thing.


2 thoughts on “Why You Have to Like Players Like J.R. Smith

  1. J.R. Smith is that player that you love and hate at the same time. I bet you if Russell Westbrook doesn’t watch out, down the road he could potentially be on this list.

  2. haha he doesn’t shoot well enough to make this list though – that’s the frustrating thing: all these guys are so skilled offensively that they could probably outscore russy on any given night

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