- Ian Begley, ESPN Staff Writer
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PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Pablo Prigioni and Raymond Felton will start in the backcourt in the Knicks' preseason opener Wednesday, but Mike Woodson would like J.R. Smith or Iman Shumpert to start alongside Felton once the games count.
Woodson said he chose to start Prigioni over Shumpert because Prigioni has been healthy throughout training camp. Shumpert missed two training camp practices last week due to a right shoulder injury.
“I don’t think Iman’s had enough reps yet. It’s nothing against him. He’ll probably play more minutes than all of them tonight,” Woodson said. “We’ll gauge the game and how it goes. Eventually I want to get to a big lineup with Iman or J.R. at the 2 spot.”
If the Knicks go with a big backcourt to start the season, that would lead to fewer minutes for the team’s two-point guard lineup.
Late last season, the starting backcourt of Felton and Prigioni helped lead the Knicks to 13 straight wins.
Woodson has said that he intends to use the two-point guard lineup but would like to “experiment” with a backcourt of either Smith or Shumpert at shooting guard early on.
SHUMP HAD KNEE SORENESS OVER THE SUMMER: Woodson also revealed on Wednesday that Shumpert felt soreness in his surgically-repaired left knee in the offseason and came into training camp a bit out of shape.
Shumpert, who underwent ACL surgery on his left knee in April 2012, said the soreness he experienced over the summer was expected.
“They just don’t want to speed me up [and cause further injury],” he said.
Still, the soreness is significant because Woodson said Wednesday there will be an open competition for the starting shooting guard spot between Shumpert and reigning Sixth Man Award winner Smith.
NO K-MART: Woodson said Kenyon Martin will not play in Wednesday’s preseason opener against the Celtics and is not likely play in the Knicks’ first three preseason games. The Knicks have taken a cautious approach with the 35-year-old Martin in training camp. ... Woodson said training camp invite Cole Aldrich should play significant minutes on Wednesday while backing up Chandler. Aldrich is competing with Josh Powell and Ike Diogu for a spot on the Knicks’ regular-season roster.
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