Apr 30, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith (left) talks with head coach Mike Woodson (left) during the first half of game two in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

J.R. Smith May Not be Granted His Wish to Start


Earlier in the week, New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith made his feelings known about what he wants out of training camp. Smith wants to shed the sixth man title he has had for most of his career and instead would like to be the Knicks’ starter at shooting guard.

Apr. 25, 2012; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith (8) dribbles the ball during the second half against the Los Angeles Clippers at Madison Square Garden. Knicks won 99-93. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE

Its understandable Smith feels this way, especially since he’s the only healthy shooting guard in camp at the moment with Iman Shumpert and Ronnie Brewer currently sidelined with injuries.

However, all indications seem to point to Smith not being granted that wish.

Head coach Mike Woodson practically shot down the idea and told Smith as much. Woodson added (per the New York Post):

“I kind of like J.R. where he is in terms of coming off the bench, but he could start, too, you never know,’’ Woodson said. “Everybody can’t start. I’ve got a nice mixture of guys in that starting unit from an offensive standpoint. I have to have some offense coming off the bench as well.”

That’s something I agree with Woodson on. Smith adds some needing scoring punch off the bench, which is something the Knicks currently don’t have. In addition, if Smith has a big year coming off the Knicks’ bench for a full season, he has the talent to put up a big year, if he plays under control. If he does, there’s no reason not to think that Smith could be among the handful of guys in the running for the Sixth Man of the Year award.

It’s not always about who starts, but more importantly about who finishes.

Smith will play a ton of minutes this season for this team and for the Knicks to have any success; they will need him to be good.

He can’t allow his role on the team to become a distraction.

It’s all about winning and I think Smith gets that message louder than anything else.

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