May 16, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith (8) during the fourth quarter against the Indiana Pacers in game 5 of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffsat Madison Square Garden. Knicks won 85-75. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks G J.R. Smith wants to start

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Last season, guard J.R. Smith came off the bench for the NewYork Knicks and it worked out quite well. Smith averaged 18.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.3 steals per game and claimed the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award.

However, Smith doesn’t want to be a backup.

“I’ve always wanted to start. Everybody knows that,” Smith told Ian Begley of ESPN New York. “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 (Mike Woodson) 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.”

Yet, it looks like Iman Shumpert will likely claim the starting role because of his defense while Smith will again be asked to provide a scoring lift off of the bench.

“When (Woodson) decides to make the choice we both have to live with it, between myself and Shump,” Smith said. “It’s a competition at this point, he’s winning. He’s healthy, he’s able to play. When I’m back ready I’ll be ready.”

The Knicks will start the regular season on October 30 when they host the Milwaukee Bucks.

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