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News » NUGGETS J.R. will start next season suspended The NBA suspends the guard for the first seven games as the result of reckless dri


NUGGETS J.R. will start next season suspended The NBA suspends the guard for the first seven games as the result of reckless dri


NUGGETS J.R. will start next season suspended The NBA suspends the guard for the first seven games as the result of reckless dri
Starting at shooting guard for the Nuggets ... Arron Afflalo?

This could be the case for the first seven games of the upcoming season. The NBA suspended J.R. Smith on Friday for seven games, a result of Smith's guilty plea this summer to reckless driving during a 2007 auto accident that killed his friend, Andre Bell.

In announcing the suspension, the NBA said in a release Smith was penalized because of his reckless driving in the accident "and for prior and subsequent motor vehicle offenses."

Because of additional driving offenses, Smith's license is suspended until March 2012.

"The commissioner's office has made it clear that it wants to set the highest standard of personal conduct for its athletes," Nuggets vice president of Basketball operations Mark Warkentien said in a news release. "We will support J.R. as he continues to deal with the tragic accident he was involved with two years ago and the consequences of his painful mistake."

Smith did not return calls seeking comment.

The suspension means the Nuggets will be without one of their best players until the Nov. 10 game at Chicago. And in an airtight Northwest Division, the Nuggets won't have Smith for the season opener Oct. 28 against Utah or the next night at Portland, two division matchups that could have implications down the line. (Smith will also miss a home game against Memphis, and then the start of a road trip at Indiana, his home state of New Jersey, Miami and, finally, Atlanta).

The Nuggets remain in the market for another shooting guard off the bench, but as of now, Afflalo is Smith's backup and could move into the starting lineup to start the season.

Last season, Smith averaged 15.2 points per game coming off the bench. Afflalo was a Detroit Pistons reserve who averaged 4.9.

Messages left with Nuggets coach George Karl were not returned.

Toward the end of last season, when Denver won 54 games and advanced to the Western Conference finals, Karl said Smith would be a starter this season, Smith's sixth in the NBA.

Benjamin Hochman: 303-954-1294 or bhochman@denverpost.com


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: August 31, 2009

 

 
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