When the New York Knicks take on the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, last year’s Sixth Man of the Year Award winner J.R. Smith will make his season debut after undergoing knee surgery in the offseason, followed by serving a five-game suspension for marijuana use.
However when Smith takes the court for the first time on Sunday, many want to know what role Knicks head coach Mike Woodson will have Smith in?
According to Jonah Barlow of KnicksNow.com, Woodson is going to keep Smith in his familiar bench role and use the same five starters as he did Friday night against the Charlotte Bobcats.
#Knicks head coach Mike Woodson says JR Smith will come off the bench against the Spurs. Same starters as last night.
— Jonah Ballow (@jonahballow) November 9, 2013
All offseason there was speculation that upon his return Smith would forgo his bench role and be inserted as the starting shooting guard.
Woodson hinted at that fact on numerous occasions, but at least at the beginning Smith will be coming off the bench.
I wouldn’t entirely rule out the fact that Smith could eventually start as Woodson still hasn’t gotten a grip on his rotations in the early going. The injury to center Tyson Chandler also complicates those rotations, as well as the minute’s limit to both Amar’e Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin.
It may take a while, but once Woodson figures things out, he may change Smith’s role.
But for now it will be as a bench guy.
Woodson didn’t speculate on how many minutes Smith will play in his first game, but his scoring off the bench will be a welcome addition to the Knicks lineup.
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