Will Nate Robinson Starting Help Knicks Finish Strong?

One constant thread running through the last few weeks of Knicks basketball has been their propensity to fall behind early before staging a late comeback. Sometimes it works out, see the games in Milwaukee and Detroit this week, but it's a losing strategy in the long run. 

It's not hard to notice that the Knicks have been falling behind when Chris Duhon is on the court, and that a key part of each and every comeback has been Nate Robinson's relentlessness. That's why, according to Alan Hahn of Newsday, Mike D'Antoni is thinking about promoting Robinson to the starting five and moving Duhon to the bench. 

Since Duhon is ailing physically right now, and hurting the Knicks when he plays, there wouldn't be much uproar if Robinson did take the court to start games. It might not do much to help the Knicks win games, though. Because the team doesn't have a true backup point guard, Duhon is still going to have to play. When he does play, defenses still aren't going to respect his ability to score when he takes the ball off a pick. That means they'll sag on the pick and roll and continue to make the Knicks a team that's overreliant on perimeter scoring.  

Duhon would also be seeing more time with a second unit that would feature fewer scoring options. Robinson is a better fit with that group because of his ability to create his own shot, and he gets more time against the other team's lesser players. While he's shown more of a willingness to set up others at points this season, Robinson is still a guy who looks for his own shot first, something that could hamper other players from getting into the flow when the game is getting underway.

Regardless of who starts the games, Robinson has to be on the floor when the Knicks are ending games. He's also going to play as many, if not, more minutes than Duhon. The final reason why Robinson moving to the starting lineup could be problematic is that if he starts a game, and the Knicks struggle early, who will provide a jolt of energy off the bench? It won't be Duhon, that's for sure, and the Knicks don't have anywhere else to turn.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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