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J.R. Smith wants to be leader for Knicks this season

Aug 22, 2014, 1:05 PM EDT

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Don’t snicker.

On paper J.R. Smith should be a leader. He is a 10-year NBA veteran, a former Sixth Man of the Year, he’s the kind of guy younger players should look to on how to stick in the league, what works and what doesn’t on the court. They may not want to look to him for shot selection advice, or money management, but he can be a leader in other ways. In theory.

That’s what he wants to be — a leader. That’s what Smith told ESPNNewYork.com.

“Be a leader,” Smith said in an interview with ESPNNewYork.com on Thursday at his foundation’s annual golf fundraiser. “We’ve got so many younger guys around. A lot of the older guys left within the last two years. So be more of a leader and help out….

“Just ‘show instead of say’ and stuff like that,” Smith, speaking at his fundraiser for the J.R. Smith Youth Foundation at Eagle Ridge Golf Club, said when asked about his leadership approach. “‘Sheed [Rasheed Wallace], J Kidd [Jason Kidd] — those guys led by example and that’s what I’m going to try to do.”

That is great to hear him say, it’s what he should do. I hope it works out for him.

Watching Smith and his gunner, ball-stopping tendencies try to fit in the move-the-ball, read and react triangle offense is going to be interesting. To put it kindly. It may be Derek Fisher’s biggest test. Based on Smith’s history, this has disaster written all over it. He takes shots that would unbalance a system based on spacing and balance.

But maybe he has matured. Maybe he is ready to tweak his game to fit in the team system. That’s what leaders do.

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