Almost everybody who has played basketball since grade school wants to be a starter. But in the NBA, even quality players must be resigned to coming off the bench.
It's a job that calls for stars to swallow their pride and ego, and sacrifice for the team.
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Bench ranking: 8th
Current team:Denver Nuggets
Age on Sept. 9, 2011: 27
Seasons in NBA: 7
Total games played off bench/starts: 73/6.
Stats coming off bench: Smith's average of 12.3 points last season fell off from his 15.4 the previous season. He added 4.1 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game last season in just 24.9 minutes per game. He shot 39.5 percent from 3-point range.
What makes him a terrific bench player: Smith is like Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson in that he can get hot in a hurry – and against big time competition. In two games against the Miami Heat last season, he scored 27 and 28 points. While his shot selection and moods at times might drive coach George Karl crazy, Smith can be tough to guard when he' s on a roll. He can get out of control.
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NBA's best bench players: No. 8 J.R. Smith
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