Mike Woodson: Jeremy Lin staying

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson said restricted free agent Jeremy Lin will "absolutely" be back next season with the team.

But as the starting point guard? Woodson said Lin "still has a ways to go" to improve his game.

"Jeremy's a big part of our team, and will he start? Only time will tell," Woodson told reporters Thursday morning at the Knicks' training facility, on a day the players had their exit interviews with the coach. "He's still got to recover from his knee and use this summer to really work on his game to put himself in the best position possible for our ballclub. He has started for our team and he has played well for our basketball team. But this summer will be very pivotal for him in terms of his improvement, and the future's very bright for him."

In 35 games during the regular season, Lin averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists per game. When Lin was leading the team to a 6-1 stretch in mid-March right after Woodson took over for Mike D'Antoni, five players (including himself) were scoring in double figures, and the Knicks were averaging 100.9 points per game and holding opponents to only 86.9.

Looking ahead, the biggest area for Lin to build on, which will be a major factor as Woodson considers whether to start him, is how the guard will handle defensive pressure consistently. During the height of "Linsanity," from Feb. 6 to March 24, he averaged 4.5 turnovers per game, and sometimes he had eight or nine on a given night. But once Lin settles down and gets more game experience -- he started cutting down his mistakes shortly before he got hurt -- he has potential written all over him.

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