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Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Opening Tip: Who should start?

By Ian Begley

Smith-Woodson-Peace
Woody is considering a starting lineup switch. Will Metta World Peace and J.R. Smith make the cut?
Will a change to the starting lineup help the Knicks dig out of their early-season hole?

Mike Woodson certainly hopes so.

Woodson said he's mulling a lineup change for Wednesday's game at Atlanta but wouldn't reveal much about his plans on Tuesday. He mentioned that Metta World Peace and J.R. Smith might be inserted into the starting lineup.

"I'm going to sleep on it," Woodson said.

It's unclear whom either player would replace. Smith might start in place of Iman Shumpert at small forward, or he might take Pablo Prigioni's spot in the backcourt.

For what it's worth, Prigioni is one of two Knicks with a neutral rating when you compare his on-court/off-court splits. Tyson Chandler is the other. The rest of the team is in the negative. So there's an inherent risk in removing Prigioni from the starting lineup.

As far as World Peace goes, moving him into the starting five might help the Knicks offset Andrea Bargnani's shortcomings on the boards. Bargnani had just one rebound in 26 minutes against the Spurs on Sunday. World Peace has a rebounding rate of 9.1 percent, which isn't great, but is a significant upgrade from Bargnani's 6.5.

For what it's worth, World Peace believes the Knicks need to develop a better chemistry to turn things around. He used the San Antonio game as an example.

"They were tired, but they still had a chemistry and they looked like a team that's been with each other a couple of years. When you have that, everything is second nature," he said in an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Michael Kay Show" on Tuesday. "So it's important for us to develop some type of second-nature type of feel to our game, to our flow."

Up now: Woodson said he's struggled to find the proper lineups and rotations for the Knicks thus far and he hopes a lineup change can fix that.

Amar'e Stoudemire will sit on Wednesday and Kenyon Martin will play as the Knicks continue to rotate their power forwards.

Also, Raymond Felton said he and the Knicks need to play harder if they hope to climb out of their hole. He's just the latest player to question the Knicks' effort so far.

What's next? The Knicks will battle the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday. Can they deliver on owner James Dolan's guarantee?

Question: Do you think inserting Metta World Peace into the starting five is the answer? What about J.R. Smith? What lineup would you roll out on Wednesday?

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