Sixth Man of the Year “nothing left to prove” off bench.
New York Knicks star J.R. Smith has revealed that he would prefer to be a starter rather than a sixth man but is at the disposal of coach Mike Woodson.
The 28-year-old is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year after his impressive performances off the bench for the Knicks during the regular season last year, although he suffered a dip in form during a crucial stage in the playoffs.
However, while he admits that he has always wanted to establish himself as a starter for the Knicks, if he is asked to continue in his current role then he will gladly do so.
“I’ve always wanted to start. Everybody knows that,” Smith said as reported by ESPN.
“I won the Sixth Man [Award] last year, so I felt as though there’s nothing left to prove at the sixth-man spot. But at the same time, if that’s what my team needs me to do, that’s what I’ll do. If Coach wants me to be a sixth man, I’ll be a sixth man. If he wants me to start, I’ll start. That’s up to him.”
Smith will likely compete with Iman Shumpert for the starting shooting guard spot in Woodson’s line-up, but will miss the start of the season having received a five-game ban for violating the league’s drug policy.
Meanwhile, he is also recovering from knee surgery he underwent this summer, but it is hoped by the Knicks that he will play an integral role when he returns to full fitness.
Along with Carmelo Anthony, Smith was a vital part of the franchise’s success last year, and with the additions of Metta World Peace and Andrea Bargnani they will hope to improve further this season.