New York Knicks Will Move JR Smith into Starting Lineup

Adam Fromal@fromal09National NBA Featured ColumnistNovember 13, 2013

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 03: J.R. Smith #8 thanks Pablo Prigioni #9 of the New York Knicks for his pass late in the fourth quarter that led to Smith's behind the head two-pointer against the San Antonio Spurs  at Madison Square Garden on January 3, 2013 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

If you're in the New York Knicks starting five without the last name "Anthony" or "Smith," you may as well forget about shooting the ball. 

According to Jonah Ballow of, J.R. Smith is moving into the starting lineup against the Atlanta Hawks, ensuring that both he and Carmelo Anthony get to fire up plenty of attempts:

To make room for Smith, Pablo Prigioni will return to the bench. The veteran guard has started both of the team's games since Tyson Chandler went down with an injury

Making Smith a starter is an interesting decision, to say the least. Smith was incredibly successful coming off the bench during the 2012-13 season, winning Sixth Man of the Year with averages of 18.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists.

Sure, his start this season hasn't gone as smoothly, marred by an awful performance against the San Antonio Spurs, but that's still the best role for the oft-shooting 2-guard. Yahoo! Sports Dan Devine had nothing but unkind things to say about the guard's season debut:

That said, 'rusty' seems like an awfully kind word for Smith's five-point, 1-for-9 shooting, four-turnover, defensively lackadaisical 20 1/2-minute outing—a performance that looks even worse coming in the context of a massive 120-89 home-court beatdown that dropped the Knicks to 2-4 on the season.

Smith is at his best when he can dominate the ball, not when he plays alongside another black hole. And make no mistake about it: While Anthony has been making more of a concerted effort to involve teammates, he still has to control the rock whenever he's on the court. 

In addition, Smith has historically performed worse as a starter.

Basketball-Reference shows that his offensive rating goes down five points and his defensive rating rises by two when he starts.

Oh, and good luck playing defense with a lineup that has to hide Felton, Smith, Anthony and Bargnani at the same time. That's going to be an adventure for a Knicks team that has had difficulty preventing points all season long. 

"Interesting" is the most applicable word for this decision. Let the drama unfold.