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Knicks to start J.R. Smith, move Prigioni to bench

Nov 13, 2013, 12:13 PM EDT

San Antonio Spurs v New York Knicks Getty Images

When Pablo Prigioni has been on the court this season, the Knicks have been 8.9 points per 100 possessions better.

So he’s getting benched.

Looking to put some spark in an offense that is 25th in the league so far this season (using points per possession), Knicks coach Mike Woodson said he is putting J.R. Smith into the starting lineup Wednesday in Atlanta, reports Al Iannazzone of Newsday on twitter. That means Prigioni is going to the bench.

Smith will be in his second game back after off-season knee surgery that kept him out of camp followed by a five-game drug suspension that had him on the bench to start the season. In his first game, Smith was 1-of-9 from the field and looked rusty.

However, Woodson has to do something to spark the offense because with Tyson Chandler out for a month or more their defense isn’t going to win them games. 

Prigioni has been solid for the Knicks this season (as he was last season) but their offense does drop 2.9 points per 100 when he comes on the court (it’s early and who he shared some of those minutes with certainly had an impact on that number). Their defense has been much better with him out there, but to make the defense better the Knicks really need a healthy Kevin Martin.

K-Mart will play against the Hawks (Andrea Bargnani will still start at center) and Woodson said he hopes to have him available Thursday as well.

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