J.R. Smith Interview
New Orleans Hornets shooting guard J.R. Smith is an awesome young player. He was recently in Madison Square Garden for a streetball-related event. InsideHoops.com met with him for an exclusive interview.
InsideHoops.com: How's the summer been? What have you been up to since summer leagues?
J.R. Smith: Just chilling, working out. I just came from a cruise off of Jamaica with Chris (Paul) and his family. Just chilling.
InsideHoops.com: Did you know Chris Paul before the Hornets drafted him?
J.R. Smith: Yeah. He's like my oldest little brother. He's cool. That's my little humble right now.
InsideHoops.com: The Hornets have a new international player, and right now I don't remember his name, and...
J.R. Smith: To tell you the truth, I don't even know his name. I mean, I heard about him, but I don't really know about him.
InsideHoops.com: Is he joining the team this year?
J.R. Smith: He, he's supposed to be. They got him under contract, so.
InsideHoops.com: As of now does it sound like you'll still play shooting guard? Because I think you should, but there was talk in a New Orleans paper that you might get moved to small forward.
J.R. Smith: I don't even know. Coach told me, don't worry about it, when the season comes we'll just think about it then. So, as long as I'm on the floor, I don't care where I play.
InsideHoops.com: And as for EBC Rucker Park, you played a year ago. And this week in EBC America, right?
J.R. Smith: Yeah, I'm playing tomorrow on Baron Davis' team.
InsideHoops.com: That team, L.A., is loaded.
J.R. Smith: We're trying to win it this year. We lost last year to Fat Joe's team. We're going to win it this year. (Note from InsideHoops.com: This interview was recorded Sunday. On Wednesday, the L.A. team did win the EBC America Rucker Park championship - a separate event from the regular EBC Rucker Park playoffs.)
InsideHoops.com: Was it a fairly called game last year, the EBC America championship?
J.R. Smith: I thought it was. It was a great game all around. The refs didn't try to take over, they just let us play. It was just a good game overall.
InsideHoops.com: And now a random NBA topic, the Phoenix Suns. They won a ton of games last season, and now Q-Rich is gone, Joe Johnson is gone. What are your thoughts on that squad?
J.R. Smith: They just pretty much broke up a great team. Amare (Stoudemire) and Steve (Nash) have to pretty much do it by themselves now. Jimmy Jackson did what he could last year. But you can't replace two great players. Q brought the outside game, and Joe Johnson did everything. And now they lose Joe Johnson. I think they were trying to get rid of Q to keep Joe. I don't know what they're going to do now.
InsideHoops.com: They kept their main core, but the key support is gone.
J.R. Smith: Yeah, exactly. I think they had a chance of winning it last year. Now, it's real skeptical.
InsideHoops.com: And as for the Miami Heat, last season they were just one game from reaching the finals, and both Shaq and Wade were banged up, so it's possible that with health they'd have gone further. Yet now they just flipped the team, adding Jason Williams, Antoine Walker and James Posey. What's your reaction to what they did?
J.R. Smith: Pat Riley, he going to do what he got to do to get guys there, guys that want to be there, guys that want to play, guys that are going to win. I think he's doing what he thinks is best for the team. Thankfully, we got Rasual Butler out of the deal. So I think we're going to be good. We can't really focus on other teams, we have to worry about ourselves, first.
InsideHoops.com: True, so as for yourselves, the Hornets are a young team, the future is hot, but I'm sure you also want to win right now.
J.R. Smith: Oh definitely. Everybody wants to win right now, so bad. Everybody wants to come off of a season like last year, so, we're just going to do what we have to do, win as many games as we can. Hopefully we can get into the playoffs. And just keep rebuilding.