Phil Jackson: Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert likely Knicks starters

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When it comes to hinting about the Knicks starting lineup, there are a lot of cooks in the kitchen.

Knicks coach Derek Fisher said only Carmelo Anthony was the only lock to start.

Melo said he’d primarily play small forward.

And now Knicks president Phil Jackson is chiming in.

Ian Begley of ESPN:

Jackson said Jose Calderon and Sam Dalembert will probably start at point guard and center, respectively.

Jackson, an all-time great coach, has said he doesn’t want to overstep. So hopefully, he’s just being more open with the media about Fisher’s preferences – not injecting his own.

Calderon (over Pablo Prigioni) and Dalembert (over Jason Smith) seem to be the strongest candidates at their positions, so whoever made the decision is doing something right.

That leaves just two positions up for grabs, and they’re both tightly contested:

  • Shooting guard: Iman Shumpert, Tim Hardaway Jr. or J.R. Smith
  • Power forward: Amar’e Stoudemire or Andrea Bargnani

Mike Woodson was happy to mix-and-match lineups. We don’t yet know Fisher’s direction, but unless someone in those groups really separates himself during the preseason, we might see more lineup shuffling as the Knicks seek what works best.

But I think starting Melo, Calderon and Dalembert is a good start.