Panel of insiders: Start Metta!

The New York Knicks' starting lineup has been a prominent topic of conversation. With Andrea Bargnani and Metta World Peace now on the team, there is competition for one of the starting forward positions (with one of them reserved for Carmelo Anthony). Amar'e Stoudemire would also likely be in the mix.

That isn't the only spot up for grabs. A week ago, head coach Mike Woodson would only confirm that Anthony, point guard Raymond Felton and center Tyson Chandler will start.

With that in mind, ESPNNewYork.com turned to five NBA insiders (three scouts and two agents who don't represent any Knicks players) to get their take on the team's starting lineup. The discussion also focused on the importance of a consistent starting five, and whether Woodson could rotate it depending on each game's matchup.

The panel agreed on two main points: The first unit should be consistent, and it should consist of Felton, Iman Shumpert, World Peace, Anthony and Chandler. Here's more:


Lineup: Felton, Shumpert, World Peace, Anthony and Chandler

Why? Regarding World Peace, "You always need one wild card/a--h--- on the floor. Generating offense will be tough at times, but that's where Woodson has to get creative and use his scorers in the right way. I believe Shumpert will be a better offensive player."

Importance of a consistent starting five: "I believe it's beneficial to start the same guys most of the time. It's great to have flexibility and be able to change up the lineup if need be, but I'm big on consistency. I think the more a group plays together, the better they are down the stretch in games and late in the season. The same goes for the bench. But there are times when a lineup change is warranted."


Lineup: Felton, Shumpert, World Peace, Anthony and Chandler

Why? "Defensively, Metta World Peace is that player. His sheer strength is going to help them out a lot, and he has that intimidation factor. It sets the tempo at the start of the game."

Importance of a consistent starting five: "Having consistency is extremely important because there is a certain level of chemistry with the starting five, and there is something special when you call yourself a starter. That brings a different level of confidence and swag, and the coach can sense if you don't fit there."


Lineup: Felton, Shumpert, World Peace, Anthony and Chandler

Why? "Metta will take defensive pressure off of Melo, and he can hit the corner 3 from Melo and other's kick-outs, allowing Shumpert to facilitate more from the perimeter. I expect him to step up offensively."

Importance of a consistent starting five: "I think Woodson should practice with different starting lineups, so the guys are prepared for audibles. But overall, in a highly competitive league where attention to detail is everything, players need some kind of routine to prepare for their assignment."


Lineup: Felton, Shumpert, Anthony, Bargnani and Chandler

Why? "This should be the starting five, but could change depending on matchups with the opposing team. I like the size, length and versatility of that lineup. Bargnani can stretch a big out because of his ability to shoot and Melo can post on a smaller 3, giving Tyson room to operate. However, Melo and Bargnani don't want to play defense."

Importance of a consistent starting five: "[It] is important because of the rhythm and mindset of a player going into a game. Players have routines from the pregame to warm-ups for preparing mentally for their role. I think the more consistent Woody is with his lineup, the better."


Lineup: Felton, Shumpert, World Peace, Anthony and Chandler

Why? "Melo is better at the 4 because of mismatches and the ability to post more. Off the bench, I think it will be Bargnani at the 4 and Amar'e at the 5 -- one of the worst rebounding frontcourts ever. But I'm not sure what else they can do."

Importance of a consistent starting five: "Consistency helps. I think the only way you can flip it up is if you get everybody to buy in and lose their egos. Then it works, but I don't see that happening."

Do you also agree that Felton, Shumpert, World Peace, Anthony and Chandler should be the starting lineup? Leave us your comments below.

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