J.R. Smith says he would prefer to start for Knicks

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J.R. Smith may get his wish, but not for a full season.

Smith has been one of the best sixth men in the NBA for years — he comes off the bench, can score, picks up the defensive intensity. He can be a gunner, he can be erratic, but the energy can’t be questioned. And he’s expected to play that role for the Knicks once Iman Shumpert return.

But what Smith really wants to do is start. That’s what he told Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com.

“I would prefer to start. I would rather be a starter,” he said. “My goal was to come in here and be a starter, and play with those other four guys on the floor. It is frustrating after a while that people see me as a sixth man, sixth man, sixth man, when you believe you’re a starter. But at the same time, you have to understand this is a team game and you have to put individual goals aside.”

Smith likely will be the starter when the season begins (it could be Ronnie Brewer, Woodson has not made an announcement). The Knicks need his three-point shooting to space the floor.

It’s an interesting exercise. But what I really want to see is who Woodson has on the floor in the final three minutes of a close game.