Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton – not Iman Shumpert – guaranteed to start for Knicks

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As Mike Woodson played mad chemist with the Knicks’ starting lineup last season, four players started both every game they played and a majority of all New York’s games: Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert.

All four return to the Knicks this season, and three will definitely start again. Sorry (maybe), Iman.

Mitch Abramson New York Daily News:

Woodson made no guarantees that Shumpert would be able to reclaim his spot as the starting shooting guard and said that for now the only guaranteed starters are Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton

If Shumpert doesn’t win the starting job, who will?

J.R. Smith is the most talented option, but Woodson just said Smith must grow up. Besides, Smith has shown he’s most comfortable as a reserve, and I doubt Woodson removes Smith from that role.

Pablo Prigioni or Beno Udrih could get the nod if Woodson wants to start two point guards. The Knicks often used two point guards last season, and that helped keep the ball moving, though that also contributed to defensive and rebounding issues.

Tim Hardaway Jr. has the frame to defend well and he’s at least a streaky shooter, but he’s still just a rookie learning the ropes.

Toure Murry, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Chris Smith might not even make the roster. Then again, who would have thought Chris Copeland would make the team last year, let alone start as often as he did?

Shumpert is not a perfect choice, but he’s probably the most complete option. There’s a good chance Woodson knows that and is using this to motivate Shumpert and/or the players behind him.

That’s just what early October is for. In a month, Shumpert is most likely starting.

Trail Blazers beat Suns by 48, biggest season-opening rout in NBA history

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Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.

More than fine.

Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.

Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):

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The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.

Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova scrap (video)

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Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.

Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.

Report: ‘Tremendous concern’ for Jeremy Lin’s knee injury

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The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?

Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:

If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.

The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.

It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.

Aaron Gordon throws himself alley-oop off backboard (video)

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Remember when Aaron Gordon was a promising fun player?

The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.

There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.