Shumpert gets starting nod for Thursday

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Iman Shumpert will start at shooting guard on Thursday against the Washington Wizards.

Shumpert came off the bench in the New York Knicks' first two preseason games as Mike Woodson opted to start Raymond Felton and Pablo Prigioni at the guard spots.

Woodson's hope, however, is to eventually start a traditional shooting guard in the back court.

Shumpert and injured guard J.R. Smith are battling for the starting position.

Shumpert scored 18 points on 7-for-7 shooting off of the bench in the Knicks' preseason opener against Boston. Woodson said he held Shumpert out of the starting lineup because of minor injury concerns.

The third-year guard was inserted into the starting lineup last Saturday against the Celtics and struggled, scoring six points on 2-for-9 shooting.

It should be noted that Shumpert was playing alongside Tim Hardaway Jr. and Josh Powell in the starting five that night as Woodson decided to rest his regulars.

Preseason stats don't mean much, but it will be interesting to see how Shumpert fits in alongside Felton, Carmelo Anthony, Andrea Bargnani and Tyson Chandler on Thursday in Baltimore.

"Unfortunately, J.R. hasn't been in camp to fight for it and right now Iman's ahead of schedule," Woodson said of the shooting guard competition. "So he's going to be the guy who's going end up being in there [on Thursday]."

No back-to-backs for K-Mart? Kenyon Martin sat out of practice on Tuesday to rest his left ankle.

Martin sprained his ankle last April and the injury seems to be bothering him. Woodson said Martin didn't need surgery in the offseason to repair anything, but Martin has had to ice his ankle and get treatment on a daily basis. He has also been held out of all of the Knicks' scrimmages in training camp.

"It kind of nagged him throughout the summer so we’re just being cautious now. He had a good workout yesterday," Woodson said.

The coach also did not dismiss the possibility that Martin could sit out of the second game of back-to-backs this season. But Woodson also made it clear that he'd like to avoid a situation where Martin is healthy to play one day and unavailable the next.

Woodson said the Knicks may have to "tailor" specific guidelines for Martin and Amar'e Stoudemire to keep them healthy throughout the season.

"What that’s going to be yet I don’t know," Woodson said. "[I won't know] until those guys get back on the floor ready to play."

No cuts imminent for bigs: The Knicks would like to keep at least one of the three big men they've invited to training camp.

Veteran 6-8 forward Ike Diogu has impressed coaches thus far. Forward Josh Powell has been active as well. Seven-foot center Cole Aldrich has, at times, drawn the ire of Woodson for a lack of intensity.

All three should have a few more opportunities to impress the staff over the next 10 days.

Woodson said that the team doesn't plan to cut any of the big men anytime soon because Martin and Stoudemire are still hurt. Speaking of training-camp invites, here's an interesting nugget on guard Chris Smith. According to two league sources, Smith's contract becomes guaranteed if he spends one day on the Knicks' 15-man roster.

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