Dec 5, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (5) reacts after hitting a three point shot against the Brooklyn Nets during the fourth quarter of a game at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks: Should Tim Hardaway Jr. start?

Dec 6, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (5) celebrates a basket against the Orlando Magic during the second half at Madison Square Garden. The Knicks won the game 121-83. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Hardaway Jr., the first round selection in the most recent draft, by the New York Knicks, has been a spark plug off the bench.

He has demonstrated his ability to drain three pointers with ease as he currently leads rookie in three point percentage, and slam down electrifying dunks.

Raymond Felton is injured and has not played well all season, J.R. Smith has also mainly been lackadaisical this whole season.

In need of a starter, is Hardaway the man for the job?

The main reason this is even an argument is because of Smith’s atrocious play since his return from surgery this summer. He can not make a single shot, and with his mediocre defense he has done next to nothing to help the Knicks this season.

Felton tried battling through a nagging hamstring injury, but after poor play he re-aggravated it and now he is shut down for at least two weeks.

Iman Shumpert, Andrea Bargnani, and Carmelo Anthony are the only guaranteed starters, but Pablo Prigioni has been playing outstanding ball and earned himself a spot in the lineup.

Could Hardaway Jr. fill that gap that is still left?

I say yes.

He has shown a very good offensive game, draining three pointers, finishing in the paint, and his defense is not too shabby either. He has played much better than Smith and Shumpert, that not going with Hardaway Jr. would be head scratching.

Why go with the struggling player when you can go with a player who can make a positive impact?

With the way Smith is playing, he is hurting the Knicks more than he is helping. It is a low risk, high reward situation. Hardaway cannot play much worse then Smith is playing as of late, so it is nearly a given he will play better, and give the Knicks a better chance to win and turn their season around.

Mike Woodson is also on the hot seat, coaching a struggling Knicks team that had high aspirations and expectations heading into this season. If starting Hardaway helps the team, it will be a good move on Woodson’s part and it will help him slowly move off the hot seat.

Starting Hardaway would be the best decision if Smith continues to struggle, and it does not look like he will snap out of this slump anytime soon. Hardaway Jr. is the best option to join the Knicks starting five.

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