Smith Tired of Bench Role; Wants to Start
J.R. Smith always had been content to be a backup — the mercurial sixth-man gunner. Not this October. The controversial Smith made it clear he prefers to start for the first time in his career.
“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.’’
“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.