So, Mike Woodson went on Stephen A. Smith's radio show today to discuss life as a 1-3 coach staring down a month or two without Tyson Chandler. I did not listen, because I would rather fill my ears with centipedes than listen to sports radio, but some people did, and I thank them for it. Kevin McElroy-- who writes for Knickerblogger and who you ought to follow on Twitter-- and Chris Herring did a lovely job summarizing what Woodson said:
"Probably" going to be better off playing small rather than big. "It's been proven since I've been here" that the small lineup works. -Woody— Kevin McElroy (@knickerbacker) November 6, 2013
"My tinkering with the lineup was to see how the big team would fare....We haven't had enough moments to get a true comparison."— Kevin McElroy (@knickerbacker) November 6, 2013
"I'm probably gonna be forced to go back to small ball" given Chandler injury.— Kevin McElroy (@knickerbacker) November 6, 2013
Woodson says Bargnani could end up going to center and Anthony at PF. Felton and Prigioni would start at PG, with Shumpert— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) November 6, 2013
Woodson suggests its not realistic for Kenyon Martin and Amare Stoudemire to start games based on their minute restrictions.— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) November 6, 2013
Woodson says he'd like to get Anthony's minutes back down to 33 or 34 per game. He's played 42 a night so far.— Chris Herring (@HerringWSJ) November 6, 2013
On one hand, that starting lineup-- which has seen the court as a unit for less than a minute through four games-- seems likely to open up the offense. On the other, that group will need to play a whole lot of offense or force a whole lot of turnovers, because it's hard to picture them protecting the basket or rebounding...at all. I just hope Pablo Prigioni doesn't get the start-then-play-four-minutes-then-sit-the-rest-of-the-game treatment. The man should be playing basketball, for he is good at playing basketball and makes the Knicks better at playing basketball when he is playing basketball.
We can still expect to see more traditional lineups for as many minutes as Kenyon Martin can muster (he was sore today after 18 minutes Tuesday night), and perhaps we'll get to see some of Cole Aldrich or a signing-to-be-named-later at some point. In between, it'll be a whole lot of smallball with Bargnani or Amar'e (or, Metta World Peace, who I'd prefer to either of those two) acting as center by default. It'd have been nice for Woodson to lean harder on that "proven" look (and it is proven) before his hand was forced and a crucial element disappeared, but oh well. Mike Woodson has squeezed magic out of these Knicks before when saddled with injuries. Maybe that sort of restriction was what he needed to wake them up?