JR Smith Says He's Been Blackballed By The NBA Because Of His 2018 Finals Blunder

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Shit in the NBA happens so fast. A perfect example of that is the JR Smith NBA Finals blunder of 2018. Before we go on, try and tell me that doesn't feel like 10 lifetimes ago? Think of how much has changed in the NBA since that moment. 2018 wasn't even that long ago! I feel like until we get to 2023, anything from 2018 and on feels not that far away to my brain. Perhaps the pandemic and quarantining have a majority to do with that since I'm pretty sure that melted all of our collective brains to the point where we lost all awareness of dates and time. Remember that shit? Wild times.

It was 4 summers ago on May 31st, 2018 in Game 1 of the 2018 of the NBA Finals that we witnessed this

Easily one of the most insane things to ever witness in an NBA Finals. First off, I know I've always felt personally that George Hill never really got his fair share of the heat for this sequence. That's a FT you have to make. Period. You heard Mike Breen, Hill was an 80% FT shooter during his 10 year career and was shooting 81% in the playoffs. Then of course we get the JR offensive rebound and would later come to find out he thought they were leading. I'll admit I haven't played in too many NBA Finals, but from the outside looking in you would think knowing the score on the final possession is a pretty good thing to have in your back pocket. If you know nothing else, at least you know the score. 

Now, JR will tell you it's this play that now has him blackballed from the NBA. 

Giphy Images.


Are we sure? Are we sure that's the reason why? In that 2017-18 season, JR smith was an OK role player who appeared in 80 games and started 61. He averaged 8.6 points on 40/37% splits. Those percentages aren't that bad when you realize that a total of 4.8 of his 7.4 FGA were threes. He was there to take and make open threes playing next to LeBron, and shooting at a 37% clip and making 1.8 a night is what I would consider filling your role. 

The next year, in his age 33 season, he appeared in just 11 games and shot 34/30%. By the time 2019-20 rolled around he played just 6 games for the Lakers despite technically getting that Bubble ring. He did appear in 10 playoff games, where he shot a stellar 26/27%.

My point is, maybe it was just time for JR Smith's career to come to an end. He'd been in the league since 2004-05, so I'd say his career was a smashing success. He's been part of a championship team, he made over $90M as a player and if you remember early JR Smith as a Nugget, the dude was electric. But that was not who we saw in 2019-20. To sit there and say he's better than every single team in the league's 4-15 man roster is patently insane. Why would say, the GM of the Sacramento Kings give a shit about a mistake in the 2018 Finals? I can understand why maybe Dan Gilbert has maybe seen enough, but something tells me that's not the reason these other GMs are not signing JR Smith. Now there are some things I agree with. Like Joe Johnson still being a bucket

but it's not crazy that as a 40 year old Joe Johnson isn't on an NBA roster. Or Nick Young who is 37. Or Jamal Crawford who is 42. Isaiah is a soft spot for me of course and I bet he does sign on somewhere eventually, but he's been much better than JR Smith was those final few years. I wouldn't say those guys are blackballed as much as ya know, they're just old. Defense matters. In JR's case, he wasn't exactly hitting shots towards the end there. 

Not everyone is going to be LeBron or CP3, or Dirk or Duncan or Kobe or Vince Carter or KG or Parish or Kareem or Kevin Willis where you just play forever. JR Smith having a 16 year career is damn impressive. He was the 2012-13 6th Mam of The Year. He owns the 3rd best 3P shooting season in Nuggets history with 180 3PM in 2008-09. He has the Cavs playoff record of 8 3PM while also owning the best Cavs 3P shooting season in history with 204 3PM in 2015-16. That's a pretty nice career when you add in the rings and money made. Sometimes careers just come to an end, like they do with every player. That feels more realistic than being apparently blackballed.