12:50 pm Oct. 10, 2012
In case anybody was wondering: New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson really doesn't want to start J.R. Smith.
Consider that the Knicks' best option at shooting guard, Iman Shumpert, is out until at least December recovering from knee surgery. Their new backup for Shumpert, Ronnie Brewer, is out at least another week after less significant knee surgery this summer.
What remains on the roster, in terms of shooting guard options, is unclear. James White, with 11 N.B.A. games to his name, has been hobbled this preseason. Jason Kidd is undersized and slow for the position. Mychel Thompson is in camp on a non-guaranteed deal, and is more of a small forward.
And still, despite all that, Woodson doesn't expect to start J.R. Smith on Thursday, when the Knicks open their preseason schedule against the Washington Wizards.
Woodson talked up Smith as a bench contributor after practice on Wedyesday.
“Like I told J.R., if he comes off (the bench), ‘Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. Heck, he can be the best player coming off the bench in the league and perhaps win the Sixth Man Award. Hopefully, that parlays into a lot of wins and getting us to a championship round because at the end of the day that’s what we’re in it for.”