Woody may start MWP over Bargnani

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Mike Woodson says he is toying with the idea of starting Metta World Peace over Andrea Bargnani in the season opener on Wednesday.

"I don't know yet," the coach said Monday when asked about starting World Peace or Bargnani against the Bucks. "I really don't."

It's interesting that Woodson is still wrestling with his starting five just two days before the Knicks open the regular season.

The coach was committed to using Bargnani in the starting lineup throughout the preseason. But he may have changed his mind because of Bargnani's shooting struggles -- the forward shot just 38 percent from the floor in seven preseason games. Or, Woodson may not want to reveal his starting five publicly. If he announced his starting lineup on Monday, Milwaukee would have two days to prepare.

Woodson said after Monday's scrimmage that it was hard to evaluate his starting lineup and reserve unit because Iman Shumpert (soreness) did not practice. Shumpert is expected to start at shooting guard on Wednesday alongside Raymond Felton at point guard. Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler are expected to round out the Knicks' front line.

If World Peace starts against Milwaukee, that would allow Anthony to shift back to power forward.

Anthony won the 2012-13 scoring title playing primarily at power forward.

If Bargnani ends up in the starting lineup, Anthony would shift to small forward, where he's played most often throughout his 10-year career.

Bargnani and World Peace have vastly different skill sets. Bargnani's known as a strong perimeter shooter but a weak defender; World Peace can guard the opponent's top forward and can knock down an open perimeter shot.

"With Bargnani, we can space the floor out; he causes some type of mismatches out there," Anthony said. "With Metta, he kind of brings that defensive mentality out on the basketball court, gets us going, gets the energy going in the game. We know what to expect from both them guys, what type of games that they have. (They are) totally two different type of games."

Woodson said on Sunday that Bargnani is still adjusting to life with the Knicks on both ends of the floor. In addition to his poor preseason shooting, Bargnani seemed to struggled with the Knicks' defensive concepts in the exhibition season. The Knicks were outscored by 65 points in 170 minutes with Bargnani on the floor.

"I really believe Andrea can be a good team defender. My whole thing is it’s our job to help him," Tyson Chandler said. "Obviously, Metta does some incredible things individually as a defender but it’s our job to help guys that are not known to be defenders."

If World Peace starts, the Knicks could have an easier time getting stops. Woodson & Co. have mentioned several times that defense is a priority going into the regular season.

New York ranked 17th last year in points allowed per 100 possessions. Their stated goal is to be a top 10 defense this year.

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