Denver Nuggets coach George Karl frustrated with J.R. Smith
Denver Nuggets coach George Karl has once again expressed frustration over the performance of veteran guard J.R. Smith.
Smith, who played well for the team during the pre-season, has struggled to start the regular season.
In an interview with the Denver Post, Karl said, "It's always the same thing... Last night, I thought J.R. was giving us too many bad basketball plays and not as many good basketball plays."
In Denver's first five games, Smith is averaging just 8.2 points and 1.2 assists while shooting 35 percent from the field. In his career, Smith has averaged 12.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and
1.9 assists per game while shooting on a 42.6% clip from field goal range.
"I've said it 100 times — and he's been told — that the more he takes out the bad, the more he'll play," Karl said.
"He doesn't have to give me much more good. It's just the bad shots, bad defence, bad reads, unfocused defensive concepts. From a fan standpoint, you probably wouldn't feel it, but we
weren't supposed to double-team Jason Kidd and give up 3s, and he gives up a 3 in a big situation. He's got to understand that sometimes a bench player doesn't have as much rope as a starter does."
The pair has had a rocky relationship since Smith joined the Denver Nuggets prior to the 2006-07 season. There had been reports that both men do not talk to each other, with Karl issuing
directives to Smith through assistant coaches. Last season, the Denver Nuggets considered suspending Smith after he was seen pouting on the bench due to playing a season-low 12 minutes in a game against the New Orleans Hornets.
The Denver Nuggets currently have a 3-2 record with wins against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz.