J.R. Smith is one of the most explosive players in the NBA. His range is essentially unlimited and there are times when he single-handedly guided his team to victory. Smith has the ability to score in bunches and when he catches fire, the opponent is in deep trouble.
However, despite all Smith brings to the table, the Knicks still have him coming off the bench. When Smith signed with New York after his stint in China, the team established his role as sixth man and it took time for him to adjust.
Entering the 2012-13 season, Smith believed the coaching staff would finally give him the starting nod. With Iman Shumpert out with an injury, the only competition Smith has is Ronnie Brewer. Still, it looks like the Knicks will side with Brewer and Smith told ESPN New York that he would have prefers a role in the starting five instead of the bench.
“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.”
Even though Brewer is not as great of a scorer as Smith, he can do wonders on the defensive end. Brewer was an elite defender with the Chicago Bulls and with a defensive minded coach in Mike Woodson, one would assume Brewer would get the nod over Smith.
Still, J.R. Smith has the potential to be a starter for the Knicks if he can prove himself in these coming weeks. If Smith can show coach Woodson that he can do more than score, he may be joining Carmelo Anthony in the starting five on opening day.