J.R. Smith is aiming for something more than winning this year's NBA Sixth Man Award and has publicly gone on record by saying he should be considered for All-Star selection for the first time in his career.
The New York Knicks super-sub point guard â€” backing it up with a five-game streak of 20 points or more â€” spoke out about being selected for the elite team fresh from his spectacular reverse alley-oop dunk against the Spurs on Thursday.
"My eyes are on being an All-star, honestly," Smith told The New York Post after Thursday's convincing 100-83 win. Â "I'm not focusing on Sixth man. Â Sixth Man is more long-term, honestly, end of year. Â My individual goal right now is All-Star, then I'll think about the Sixth Man. Â I'm trying to be that All-Star coming off the bench for my team."
Combine that dunk with a couple of December buzzer-beaters and Smith has a good argument for joining the All-Stars, if not only for his flair for the dramatic.
Smith is not on the All-Star fan ballot and it is rare for a player coming off the bench to make the squad but, if he keeps making the most of his minutes, an All-Star berth could be in the cards. Â The final decision will be up to the coaches â€” who have until Jan. 24 to cast their votes.
The former New Jersey high school prep star is averaging 16.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.8 assists in 33 minutes and his defense has shown more tenacity than ever before.
More importantly, Smith has put his bad habits and worse reputation behind him. No more partying or tweeting pictures of naked women.
"It's about keeping myself inside the gym more than anything," Smith said. Â "I'm more focused and right now it's paying off."