New York Knicks Rumors: Woodson leaning towards starting Smith over Shumpert

When looking at the New York Knicks potential starting lineup this season, many New York Knicks’ fans went ahead and penciled in third-year pro Iman Shumpert to start at the 2.

You may want to get your erasers out.

May 18, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert (21) reacts to scoring a three pointer against the Indiana Pacers in game six of the second round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Indiana defeats New York 106-99. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

It looks like more than ever that Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson is leaning towards starting J.R. Smith at the shooting guard spot over Shumpert, once Smith recovers from knee surgery and serves his five-game suspension to start the season.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported that Woodson revealed that Shumpert experienced knee soreness over the summer and that is one of the main reasons why Smith could elevate from sixth ma to starter.

Woodson said he believes the switch to starter for Smith could “expand his game,” and went as far as labeling him the favorite to win the job. He also said he is worried about Shumpert’s durability.

“He’s been beat up a little bit,’’ Woodson told Berman. “Could be he tried to work too hard. He’s been on and off with our developmental program. When his shoulder went out [in camp], I was, ‘Damn, here we go again.’ He’s had some [time] where his knee has been sore. ‘’

Injuries aside, after being a first-round pick, you would have expected Shump to lock down a starting job by now. But injuries and his inconsistencies at the offensive end have stunted his growth to this point.

Smith, who won the Sixth Man of the Year award last season, seemed comfortable coming off the bench, a role that seemed to fit his personality very well. He became the second unit’s main scorer and put up big numbers doing so.

But Woodson feels that starting Smith won’t hurt the Knicks at all.

“I think he’s past that,’’ Woodson said of Smith coming off the bench. “I want him to be past that. Let someone else get the Sixth Man, if he deserves to win the starting job. Last year was last year. He’s capable of defending, [but] that’s the only question I have. I know Iman can defend and he’s still searching for the offense.”

“You can go back and forth,’’ Woodson added. “I’m going to let the two fight it out.’’

Hopefully Shumpert can thrive off the bench in the fashion that Smith did.

As for Smith starting, it shouldn’t be any different as he played a lot of minutes off the bench last year, a number that won’t likely increase much with him in the starting lineup.

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Topics: J.R. Smith, Mike Woodson, NBA Offseason, New York Knicks, New York Knicks Rumors

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  • Prince Mclean

    Woodson are you stupid you have to start shumpert without shumpert all defense is coming from chandler are you sure you want teams to gain leads over Knicks early in games because that’s what will happen if you don’t start shump

    • Lennox Williams

      prince what are you talking about, wake up and smell the coffee JR is a stud he had allstars number comming off the bench, 18 points 5reb 3asist, is no joke, our starting lineup with, Mello,Bargs, and JR falling behing will be the least of our worries!!!!

  • Lennox Williams

    JR Smith have earned the starting job base on his performance last season, i know everybody is saying he fell short in the playoffs but nobody knows until after the fact that he was playing injured all season and still had the best season of his 8 year career on the other hand shump is yet to play an entire season 3 years in the league give him some time he will be fine….and the word stupid should not be mentioned in the same sentence with woodson’s name. LETS GO KNICKS!!