The Knicks are coming off a second consecutive decent season, making the playoffs for a second year in a row, but have still not met expectations.
While injuries and coaching changes have made it difficult for some players to adjust to new lineups, there’s a great chance the Knicks will make huge strides this year with the addition of many key players and coach Mike Woodson in the fold from the get-go.
But what millions of people really want to know is… “How are these players going to do for my fantasy basketball team??”
This is part five of a six part series looking at the outlook for Knicks players for the 2012-2013 season, from a fantasy perspective.
Today I look at J.R. Smith, who despite coming off the bench often will produce like a starter.
Smith was one of many players who chose to sign overseas during the lockout last season. Unfortunately for him, he signed with a Chinese team, which precluded him from opting out of his contract early.
When he was finally available to play stateside, the Knicks snatched him up and he provided instant offense off the bench for a team that had been in dire need of depth and bench scoring.
Smith could begin the season as the starter with Iman Shumpert sidelined until January with a torn ACL, or Woodson can keep Smith in his productive bench role and elect to start Ronnie Brewer. One way or another, whether it’s immediately or not until Shump returns, Smith will revert back to a bench role.
When drafting, fantasy owners should keep this in mind. Even with a bench role looming in January, Smith still gets regular minutes and often starter’s minutes. His shooting percentages were very low last year, but a lot of that was because he was forced to assume the scoring load once injuries beset the Knicks.
Always a good three-point shooter, he should continue to provide solid numbers in that category. Even with under 30 MPG, Smith can fill in most categories in fantasy box scores.
Season Predictions: 11.9 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 2.3 APG, 2 3PM/g, 1.4 SPG, 43% FG
Expected Draft Position: 10th Round
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