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Has Chris Copeland Locked up Roster Spot No.15?

 

There’s a good bit of debate right now concerning who will lock down the New York Knicks final roster spot heading into the 2012-13 season.

If the Knicks decide to keep Rasheed Wallace, which is all but certain, that leaves one sport up for grabs with Chris Copeland, John Shurna and Mychel Thompson currently the leading candidates.

July 17, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; New York Knicks player Chris Copeland (14) in the first half of the game against the Denver Nuggets at Cox Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

With that being said, right now Copeland could have that spot locked up.

While preseason numbers don’t normally mean a whole heck of a lot, Copeland’s performance Saturday night against Boston, in which he scored 21 points in 19 minutes might have been enough to earn the training camp invitee a spot on the regular season roster.

Copeland impressed the coaching staff during Vegas summer league with his inside-out game and toughness and showed some skill on pick-and-rolls with Pablo Prigioni and Jason Kidd. He also showed the knack to absorb contact and drawing fouls.

He can play and defend multiple positions, which gives Copeland some added value, especially since both the Knicks’ frontcourt and backcourt are currently stretched thin because of injuries.

However the Knicks will get healthy, which means they will likely keep the one of the three that can offer up the most throughout the course of a season, although whoever they keep won’t see a ton of minutes.

That means despite  Copeland’s heroics on Saturday, Thompson could still have the edge, especially since J.R. Smith and James White are the only capable healthy shooting guards at the moment. He has the ability to shoot the three, create some offense and defend, which are needs from the perimeter and he has some NBA experience under his belt from last season in Cleveland. Thompson showed some offensive ability against Boston and also grabbed six rebounds and stayed defensively with the Celtics quicker guards.

You can also make the case for Shurna, who can stroke it from downtown even though he has struggled through two preseason games. Shurna is athletic, can rebound and fill the lane in transition.

That’s what makes this battle for the final roster spot a very interesting one.

All three guys add something positive to this team.

Despite Copeland’s heroics Saturday night, he hasn’t locked anything up just yet, although he may have taken a big step in coming close to doing so.

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Topics: Chris Copeland, John Shurna, Mychel Thompson, New York Knicks

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