JR Smith wants to start for the Knicks this season


JR Smith joined the Knicks last season in February after spending time in China during the lockout. Smith came off the bench as a an energy guy, someone who could score in buckets and give the team a boost off the bench. During the playoffs he was one of their top scorers. So is it a surprise that he’s come out to state he wants to start this season?

“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.’’

JR’s first two years in the league were spent with the Hornets coming straight out of high school so a steady starting role wasn’t realistic. Then in Denver on a team stacked with veterans, once again JR was the energy guy off the bench.

“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.’’

JR has a different plan in mind for this season and said he came into camp with a starter’s mentality. Injuries have cleared the path, it’s up to him to produce the results and gain Coach Mike Woodson’s trust.

“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.’’

You have to go after what you want.