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.
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.