Opening Tip: Should Woodson start J.R.?

February, 3, 2014
Feb 3
6:00
AM ET
J.R. Smith's numbers over the last three games have been pretty impressive.

He's scored 18.7 points per game on 49 percent shooting. He's also knocked down 53 percent of his threes.

We bring up that time span because Smith has essentially played starter's minutes over the last three games with Iman Shumpert out.

Sure, it's an incredibly small sample size. But it's fair to wonder if the Knicks should consider starting Smith at shooting guard on a permanent basis.

Mike Woodson toyed with the idea in the preseason but ultimately decided to keep Smith in his Sixth Man role, in part because he was coming off of a knee injury.

Smith's off-court incidents also probably played a role in this decision.

But Smith's knee seems to be healthy now. And he claims that he's learned his lesson after being benched and fined for attempting to untie his opponents' shoelaces.

"Just being professional on and off the court as much as I can," Smith said earlier this week. "This is my 10th year, of course it sounds like that old broken record, but you can never be too cautious about your job. Anybody's job is replaceable and I understand that. I'm just taking it as seriously as I can."

One thing to think about when you consider starting Smith is that the move would take minutes away from Shumpert.

We saw on Saturday just how dangerous that can be. With Shumpert out, the Knicks had no answer for Dwyane Wade. Wade had 22 points on 10-for-15 shooting.

Up now: Lebron James says good friend Carmelo Anthony is looking for "an opportunity to win." So what does that mean for his future with the Knicks?

The trade deadline is on Feb. 20. If you were Steve Mills, what would you do to improve the Knicks between now and then?

Tyson Chandler can see the Knicks finishing in third place in the Eastern Conference.

What's next: The Knicks will play the Bucks in Milwaukee on Monday night.

Question: Do you think Mike Woodson should start J.R. Smith?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsC. Anthony 8.1
AssistsP. Prigioni 3.5
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2