Originally Posted by smokes
I wonder what you guys here think about JR Smith and where he should play come the start of the season.

I can see the logic of Woody and all the people here who think his potential scoring punch goes best with the 2nd unit coming off the bench. However I think he actually fits better in the starting 5, regardless of Iman being healthy or not.

When Smith comes off the bench in Denver/NY he has to play alongside mostly a group of role players who are not hugely offensively talented. The team often looks for him to create his own shot in situations where we don't have much offensive flow. Smith is pretty good at creating but he's no Kobe and this is affecting his consistency.

Playing alongside the wide variety of offensive prowess in our starting 5, Smith would have much more freedom to settle into his best game, scoring easy jumpers and fast break points. Playing alongside Tyson, STAT and Melo means plenty of open looks.

I remember watching him a few years back in Denver during the playoffs where I think Azubuike was injured so Smith was starting and the 1-2 scoring punch of Melo and Smith was frightening in some games.

Not to mention he obviously wants to start from his comments you can see he'd be a happier player as a starter.
Totally agreed, though I DO think the Knicks need at least one person who can create their own shot coming off the bench.

The knock on JR has always been his inconsistency and jacking up too many shots. In the starting 5, he would be kept in check in this regard - no way Melo and Amare would let him take shots away from them. Yet, he would definitely get a lot of open outside shots playing with those guys, and perhaps most importantly, he would SPREAD the floor so Amare and Melo would have more room to work downlow. This is why I think he would be so great in the starting lineup.

As far as when Shump comes back, I love Shump's upside and don't have a problem with him being in the lineup, but only if he can bring his outside shooting numbers up. He seemed to really be improving his 3pt numbers at the end of last season, so I think this is a possibility.

Without JR coming off the bench, I would be a little concerned about who would take the shots with the shotclock winding down. I think it's important that there's at least one guy who can create his own shot. Who would this be - Priogione? Brewer? Novak is awesome from the perimeter, but he needs guys to set him up. If defenses key in on him like Miami did in the playoffs last year, he becomes ineffective unless someone else steps up. Also, there was some good chemistry between JR and Novak last year, so I think there is something to be said for him coming off the bench.

Overall, my ideal would be JR starting until Shump comes back, with Shump elevating his outside shooting to spread the floor at that point. And JR improving his shot selection. Overall, I love JR's energy (especially on the defensive end), and I think he was a steal at the price we got him.