- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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Mike Woodson said Wednesday that he's not sure who's going to start for the Knicks, which is no surprise.
It's mid-August. The Knicks open the season on Oct. 30. So there's no need for Woodson to commit to a starting lineup right now.
But Woodson did offer a glimpse into his thinking while speaking with reporters Wednesday at a Garden of Dreams event.
If Shumpert doesn't start at shooting guard, it's likely Woodson would go with a two-point guard lineup, because other than Shumpert, the Knicks don't have many options at the 2. J.R. Smith is injured and may miss the beginning of the season. The Knicks have Tim Hardaway Jr., but it's highly unlikely the Knicks would ask the rookie to start.
So, based on what Woodson said Wednesday, it seems likely he will go with a starting backcourt of Pablo Prigioni and Felton. If that's the case, Shumpert will likely play small forward, leaving Anthony at power forward and Chandler at center.
The Knicks, of course, had great success with a two-point guard alignment last year. They won 13 straight games late in the regular season with Prigioni at point guard and Felton at shooting guard. They also won a playoff series against Boston with that lineup.
There could be an interesting byproduct of the two-point guard lineup with this season's team. Assuming the Knicks remain healthy, there will be a lot of talent on the bench.
If Woodson goes with Prigioni and Felton in the starting backcourt, it leaves Andrea Bargnani, Metta World Peace, Kenyon Martin and Amar'e Stoudemire on the bench. All of those players expect to get regular minutes this season, but it could be tricky for Woodson to find enough minutes to meet those expectations. It's likely at least one guy will play fewer minutes than he expected. The other reserves (Smith, when he's healthy, Hardaway Jr. and Beno Udrih) should fit in seamlessly.
Of course, Woodson -- and any other coach -- will tell you that having too many quality players on your roster is a good problem. And, as long as players don't snipe about minutes, it is a good problem. The depth could prove valuable if any key Knicks suffer injuries during the season.
Still, if Woodson goes with a two-point guard alignment, it's worthwhile to wonder how he'll juggle a bench that's loaded with talent.
Question: If you're Mike Woodson, what bench rotations would you go with if you have two point guards in the starting five?
RING FOR SALE: The Knicks, as you know, haven't won a title since 1972-73. If you want a piece of that last title season, Jerry Lucas, a member of the '72-'73 team, is your man. Lucas is putting his ring up for auction. Check out this video of ESPN's Michelle Steele talking to Lucas about his collection, including the ring from '72-'73.
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3dSteve Ilardi and Jeremias Engelmann