Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK — J.R. Smith says the criticisms of Carmelo Anthony “hurt” his friend, but that he’s a pro who will work through them.
“He doesn’t let stuff like that get to his head,” Smith said Wednesday when discussing criticisms of how Anthony fits into the Jeremy Lin-centric Knicks. “I mean he knows he’s a great player. He knows what he brings to the table. He just wants to go out there and win just as bad as the next person.
“I’m sure it hurts at some point but at the same time we’re all professional basketball players. He’s one hell of a player so I don’t think it’s that much of a factor to him.”
Anthony is the Godfather to Smith’s daughter, Demi, and the two were former teammates on the Denver Nuggets.
It is exactly a year since the Knicks acquired Anthony from the Nuggets in a deal that required them to give up many key assets.
Since the trade, the Knicks are 30-35 overall entering Wednesday’s game with the Atlanta Hawks, and 30-31 in the regular season. They are 6-4 in games without him this year.
They have replaced Raymond Felton with Lin, Timofey Mozgov with Tyson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler with Anthony, Smith, Steve Novak and others.
Asked for his assessment of the trade one year later, Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said:
“It was good. We got to the playoffs. We got knocked out in the first round, we got swept, but without Amar’e, without Chauncey. It’s been a little bit of an up and down. We’re trying to retool.
“Obviously, when we got Melo it depleted a lot of things. Now, I think the coffers are getting fuller. we’re getting a lot of players in, we’re developing players. We do have a rookie – quote/unquote – point guard. We do have a rookie that comes off the bench that was the point guard. We do have a rookie four guy that contributes – Josh Harrellson. So it takes a little while. And it’s been without any practices.
“We’re trying to pedal as fast as we can, but we have very good players and they’re getting better. And they’re young. So the future looks good.”
**For Video, Notes & Quotes on the Hawks-Knicks game, read the NBA.com notebook here.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.