JR Smith: ‘I Would Rather Be A Starter’

by October 06, 2012

JR Smith said recently that he is ready to become a starter. With Iman Shumpert recovering from knee surgery, he may get his wish, but not for a full season (via NY Post): “‘I’d rather start. I’ve been playing [eight] years, coming off the bench,’ Smith said yesterday. ‘Whether it stays [that way] or goes, I’m going to be same person I am. I prefer to start. I’d rather be a starter. If not, I understand that.’ Smith could never crack the Nuggets starting lineup full time. In 538 career games, he has just 130 starts, but 81 of them came in his first two seasons with New Orleans. Smith is listed in the training camp guide as ‘one of the game’s premier sixth men.’ He started just once with the Knicks last season. ‘It gets frustrating after a while,’ Smith said. ‘People saying, “he’s a sixth man, sixth man, sixth man’’ when you believe you’re a starter. But you have to understand, it’s a team game and have to put individual goals aside.’ Nevertheless, Smith came into training camp — for the first time — with starting in mind. ‘My goal was come in here and be a starter and try to play with the other four guys on the floor,’ he said. “As of right now we’ll see how up in the air it is. The last seven years coming into camp, I knew I was going to be Sixth Man. It’s a different approach this year. It’s better to think of it like that.'”