Opening Tip: Bench Felton & Shumpert?

February, 21, 2014
Feb 21
6:00
AM ET
After a lot of talk with several different teams, the Knicks ended up staying pat at the deadline.

So that means that, barring any changes from Mike Woodson, New York's starting backcourt in its three-guard lineup will be Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni and Iman Shumpert, when healthy.

Shumpert will be out for approximately two weeks due to a mild left MCL sprain, the team announced. And Woodson told reporters on Wednesday that he expects to start J.R. Smith in his place.

But what happens when Shumpert returns? Does Woodson go back with the starting backcourt of Felton, Prigioni and Shumpert?

Given the struggles of Felton and Shumpert, should he try something new?

Here's a brief look at a few options for Woodson:

Felton, Prigioni and J.R. Smith: This would give the Knicks a better scoring option at the third guard spot. Shumpert's averaging just 6.9 points per game on 37.7 percent shooting in 27 minutes. Smith is scoring 13 points per game on 39 percent shooting. Those numbers aren't great. But in his last 14 games, Smith is scoring 16.4 points on 45 percent shooting.

Felton, Prigioni and Tim Hardaway Jr.: This unit would also give the Knicks a scoring punch. Hardaway Jr.'s scoring 3.6 more points per game than Shumpert, in 5.5 fewer minutes. The scoring in the Knicks' second unit would be a bit compromised without Hardaway Jr., though. On the other hand, the second unit's perimeter defense may improve if Shumpert takes Hardaway Jr.'s place. Conversely, if Hardaway Jr. starts, the perimeter defense in the Knicks' starting unit -- already a weak point -- may take a hit.

Prigioni, Hardaway Jr. and Smith: Woodson hasn't hesitated to bench Shumpert and Felton during key stretches of recent games, so this lineup isn't out of the realm of possibility. One drawback? It would leave the Knicks bereft of scoring in the second unit. And putting Hardaway Jr. and Smith on the floor with Anthony may not be a wise move. All three are high-usage players.

If you're Woodson, how would you construct your backcourt?

Up now: Johnette Howard writes that the Knicks made Trade Deadline Day feel like Groundhog Day. They are back to selling the future.

Here's a look at what the Knicks were trying to do at the deadline and what their inactivity means for the future.

The Knicks will be without Shumpert for approximately two weeks. He suffered a mild MCL sprain of his left knee on Wednesday.

What's next: The Knicks will take on the Magic in Orlando on Friday.

Question: What should Mike Woodson do with his backcourt?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.


TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
27.4 3.1 1.2 38.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsT. Chandler 9.6
AssistsR. Felton 5.6
StealsI. Shumpert 1.2
BlocksA. Bargnani 1.2

NEW YORK CALENDAR