COMMENTARY | In his time with the New York Knicks, Mike Woodson has experimented with a fair amount of different lineup combinations. This is sometimes out of desperation due to injuries, and it is sometimes out of curiosity.
Although the team has brought back most of its core from last season, there are still uncertainties surrounding the Knicks. Amar'e Stoudemire's health is always a concern, and what the team will get out of Metta World Peace and Andrea Bargnani is up in the air.
Mike Woodson made some guarantees about his starting lineup, but he has left the door open for two spots. He guaranteed that Anthony, Tyson Chandler, and Raymond Felton will be starters. No surprise there. According to Woodson, however, the other two spots are completely up for grabs.
There is a chance that he is trying to create some competition and light a fire under a few players, but chances are that Woodson is being pretty genuine here.
When healthy, it appears that J.R. Smith will continue to come off the bench. Stoudemire, World Peace, Iman Shumpert, and Pablo Prigioni could all be potential starters. This all depends on what kind of dynamic the Knicks are looking for.
Woodson is a fan of lineups with two point guards, suggesting that Prigioni could start next to Felton in the backcourt with Iman Shumpert at small forward, moving Anthony to power forward. Prigioni had a strong rookie year and could fill the role left by Jason Kidd. In a more traditional manner, Woodson could choose to start Bargnani or Stoudemire at power forward, moving Anthony to small forward with either Shumpert or Prigioni starting with Felton. If he looks to create a physical frontline, Woodson could slot World Peace into the starting lineup.
My educated guess would be that Woodson continues to start two point guards, creating a lineup of Felton, Prigioni, Shumpert, Anthony, and Chandler. Suddenly, the signing of Beno Udrih seems much more important than many believe as the first point guard off the bench.
It's hard to believe that Woodson will keep a player like Shumpert, with so much potential and versatility, out of the starting lineup.
Of course, plenty of this depends on what certain players prove in training camp. One way or another, Woodson's hand might be forced by what he sees from players like Stoudemire, Shumpert, World Peace, and Bargnani.
Mike Woodson has plenty of options, and this is a good problem to have.
Chris lives in Connecticut and covers the New York Knicks. He grew up in New York and is a lifelong follower of the NBA.
- Sports & Recreation
- Mike Woodson
- New York Knicks
- Iman Shumpert
- Raymond Felton
- Andrea Bargnani
- Pablo Prigioni
- Carmelo Anthony