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.
#Knicks head coach Mike Woodson will start JR Smith tonight against Atlanta— Jonah Ballow (@jonahballow) November 13, 2013
#Knicks starters: Felton, Smith, Shump, Melo, Bargnani— Jonah Ballow (@jonahballow) November 13, 2013
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.
Do you agree with starting Smith?
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.