NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — While the Nets’ starting five is pretty much set in stone, Knicks head coach Mike Woodson is still tampering around with his lineup, only guaranteeing starting spots to three players: Tyson Chandler, Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton.
“That’s what we use camp for,” Woodson told Newsday. “I have no idea who’s going to start. Camp should be pretty competitive based on the talent, and that’s how it should be.”
Most expected Iman Shumpert to be included in the starting lineup at either the two or three spot, as he started in 45 games last season, including every playoff game that the Knicks competed in. But while Woodson praised Shumpert’s work ethic, stating that his jumper has “definitely improved,” the head coach said that he still has a lot of work to do.
“You’ve got to go in and earn a spot,” Woodson told the newspaper in regard to Shumpert. “That’s how I look at it.”
With three starters guaranteed, the head coach could go a number of different ways with his starting lineup. Excluded from the starting lineup, for now, are Metta World Peace, Andrea Bargnani, Pablo Prigioni, Amar’e Stoudemire and Shumpert. With his bench, Woodson could go with either a small or large starting lineup.
The head coach also addressed the great debate on whether Anthony will start at the three or four spot this season.
“Melo is a player,” Woodson told Newsday. “I could play him at the (two-guard) and he’d be just fine. I don’t know where I’m going to play him yet. I’ll play him, I know that, but we have to find two other bodies that fit that starting lineup and who that’s going to be at this point, I don’t know.”
Along with World Peace and Bargnani, the Knicks also acquired free-agent veteran point guard Beno Udrih this offseason in order to fill the void that Jason Kidd left behind. Woodson has been particularly fond of the former NBA champion since he joined the team.
“We needed a third point guard and Beno has got playoff experience,” Woodson told Newsday. “I like him because he’s not afraid to make plays, he can run a basketball team and if he has to make a big shot he’s capable of doing that. He’ll be a great addition to our ballclub. and with Raymond and Pablo at the other two point guard spots, camp should be pretty competitive.”
It’ll be a competitive Eastern Conference, but Woodson seems pleased with his roster and has a lot of options and different skill sets that he can combine and throw out onto the court this upcoming season.
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