Once upon a time, Oklahoma City wondered why Byron Scott would ever bench J.R. Smith.
Now, we know.
We were just a first-time NBA city when the Hornets came to town in 2005, and we soon saw the brilliance of Smith. We eventually saw the benching of him, too.
Scott, then the Hornets coach, had a problem with his focus.
All these years later, Smith remains one of the most unpredictable players in the league.
He was involved in a car accident in early 2007, then had another car accident only a few months later that killed one of his passengers and resulted in a vehicular manslaughter charge. He closed his Twitter account in 2009 after questions about whether his posts reflected a gang affiliation.
Smith has been erratic on the court, too. Earlier this month, he went 9 of 14 for 23 points in a big road win at Dallas. Two nights later, he went 1 of 6 for six points in a beat down at OKC.
“Unfortunately, J.R. has a way of being explosive and then having a bad play,” Denver coach George Karl told the Denver Post. “I'm not a fan of bad plays in the playoffs. I like solid and fundamental.”
Karl made those comments earlier this week.