Kevin Smith absolutely knows what he's talking about. I'm tempted to say "He's taken a lot of heat in the last few years because of films like Tusk, and his self-admitted, damn near worshipping of pot". But the reality is that Kevin Smith has been taking heat his entire career, and I think people miss that. There's always been people shitting on his work.
I personally am a Kevin Smith super fan, and the reasons for my fandom aren't just a shallow puddle of "Oh, he makes good flicks". It's because I like Kevin Smith the person. I like the guy who has never been stingy about the reality of his career even existing. He's gone on for years about how lucky he is. He has taken this and used it to encourage others to "make their art", because he himself wasn't a pedigreed Hollywood kid with connection to the industry that were always going to give him a chance. He, as he has stated many times, came from a very middle class family in New Jersey, and he just took a chance on making his dream.
He cares a lot about his fans, because his own fandom is so ingrained within him. The DVD/Blu Ray releases of his films are always packed with extras (that are actually valuable), and his Q & A home release version are 3-4 hours long. He's made very clear that he wants us, his fans, to be happy, because we've given him his dream (in his own words, repeated often, "I get to play make believe and get payed for it").
He's also made a very active decision to make the type of movies that he wants to make, throwing a rock in the face of Hollywood. Tusk is a great example of this. True Kevin Smith fans will see the film for what it is, and probably listened to the Smodcast episode where it was birthed out of playful, hilarious musing between friends (which isn't to downplay the film- it was perfectly weird, well shot, and came packed with great acting from the likes of the great Michael Parks, as well as great performances from his fellow cast mates). He's not afraid to just be who he is, take risks, and have fun.
I respect and admire Kevin Smith more than I can explain. There's a lot of lessons that can be learned from his life and career, whether you're a fan of him or not. And you'll be hard pressed to find a better orator and storyteller, regardless of whether or not you like the story that's being told.
So yes, Kevin Smith knows his stuff. His excitement has made me even more excited for Star Wars. I'm not worried about it being The Phantom Menace all over again (I also believe that Abrams simply would not let that happen; I don't think he would have taken the job if he didn't know he could kick its ass, because remember, Star Wars fans are so extreme that they ran George Lucas himself out of Star Wars).
Look at Kevin Smith as a whole picture, and look at his complete body of work, which includes hundreds of podcasts, and I think you'll find him to be a more than an artist, and more than a storyteller. I think you'll find that he is, in fact, more than qualified to speak on this subject.
By the way, if Mr. Smith happens to come across this article, I would love the opportunity to have even a 20 minute conversation with you. Most people would offer you sexual favors for the opportunity, but I'd like to be more original than that. I'll give you my prosthetic leg.