JJ Redick corrects Stephen A. Smith on First Take

As ESPN and the national media are condemned for neglecting Nikola Jokić, Stephen A. Smith didn’t do much to dispel those criticisms Thursday morning on First Take.

During a debate about all-time great NBA centers with JJ Redick and Jay Williams, Smith claimed, “Jokić isn’t known for having some kind of dominant post game.”

“That’s not his game,” Smith continued as Redick and Williams both appeared befuddled by the analysis. “Is he a dominant post player?” Smith repeatedly asked about Jokić. Apparently so, because Smith’s assessment of Jokić garnered immediate pushback from his First Take debate partners, with Redick specifically bringing the receipts.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa,” Redick interjected. “Stephen A, we’ve got 10 years of tracking data. Do you know what the number one most efficient halfcourt play is, in 10 years, across the NBA? A Nikola Jokić post-up.”

Smith attempted to defend his take, claiming Jokić plays more like Kevin McHale than Shaquille O’Neal thanks to his “beautiful touch,” which is fair, but that shouldn’t negate his ability as a dominant force in the post.

“You understand the difference that I’m saying?” Smith asked. “You understand the difference?” But they didn’t seem to understand the difference, prompting Smith to finally wave the white flag, admitting, “I stand corrected,” just before going to commercial.

Smith is live on First Take for 10 hours every week. He’s made mistakes and will continue to do so. See Dec. 2018, when Smith previewed a Chargers-Chiefs matchup by touting two players who had not played for either of those teams the entire season. But this is the NBA, his bread and butter. And if the stats show Jokić is most efficient in the post, Smith can’t be questioning his ability to play in the post.

Throughout the NBA Playoffs, Nuggets fans have complained that their team has been neglected. Smith fumbling a take about Jokić, a two-time NBA MVP, did little to change the narrative.

[First Take]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to bcontes@thecomeback.com