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J.R. Smith says he would prefer to start for Knicks

Oct 5, 2012, 7:49 PM EDT

New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith reacts after hitting a three-point shot against the Dallas Mavericks in the first half of their NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York Reuters

J.R. Smith may get his wish, but not for a full season.

Smith has been one of the best sixth men in the NBA for years — he comes off the bench, can score, picks up the defensive intensity. He can be a gunner, he can be erratic, but the energy can’t be questioned. And he’s expected to play that role for the Knicks once Iman Shumpert return.

But what Smith really wants to do is start. That’s what he told Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com.

“I would prefer to start. I would rather be a starter,” he said. “My goal was to come in here and be a starter, and play with those other four guys on the floor. It is frustrating after a while that people see me as a sixth man, sixth man, sixth man, when you believe you’re a starter. But at the same time, you have to understand this is a team game and you have to put individual goals aside.”

Smith likely will be the starter when the season begins (it could be Ronnie Brewer, Woodson has not made an announcement). The Knicks need his three-point shooting to space the floor.

It’s an interesting exercise. But what I really want to see is who Woodson has on the floor in the final three minutes of a close game.

  1. yomarianob - Oct 5, 2012 at 8:27 PM

    I think Woodson should put him with the fresh five.. Also JR should finish the game, he’s such a clutch player..

  2. passerby23 - Oct 5, 2012 at 8:54 PM

    What makes a starter a starter is consistently reliable play, which Smith has never shown. He does have the type of game, which makes him an attractive bench player though. But, then again, I think the guy has been delusional about how good he is his entire career.

  3. dysraw1 - Oct 6, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    JR. can do a lot of things when motivated, he and Shump really push each other last year.defense an consistent effort to play with in his ability would go along way.but for now his spark off the bench his needed

  4. badintent - Oct 7, 2012 at 1:09 AM

    JR don’t think , you’ll just hurt yourself………… badly. Be the best 6th man, then Knicks go deep in playoffs.. Don’t think , it got you in trouble in China , with mama-san too.Be like J. Terry………… make shots , steal ball , slam dunk. NO think.no sh*t.

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