Iman Shumpert has been cleared to make his season debut for the Knicks today against the Detroit Pistons in London.
Knicks coach Mike Woodson will speak to team doctors before finalizing his rotation for the game but hinted that he will insert the second-year pro into his starting lineup at shooting guard along side Jason Kidd.
But he plans to manage the minutes of Shumpert who is returning after seven months out following an ACL injury.
“We’ll probably play him in 3-4 minute spans. That’s about it,” said Woodson at the Knicks shootaround Thursday morning at The 02 Arena. “But three, four minutes is significant in terms of winning games.”
That, he said, would point to a starting five of Kidd, Shumpert, Chris Copeland, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler, who has recovered from illness.
Woodson maintains there is no date set for when Rasheed Wallace might return to action.
But he cannot foresee a future for the veteran forward which includes a coaching job.
“I doubt that,” Woodson said. “I don’t know if it’s about money with Rasheed. I just don’t know if he would even have the patience to do it. I think he’s got the mindset. But you have got to have patience to do this.”
CHANDLER BACK: Tyson Chandler admits being back at venue which was known as the North Greenwich Arena during last summer’s Olympics has been special -- some five months after he received his gold medal as part of the victorious USA squad.
“It just brings back incredible memories,” said Chandler. “The first time I walked back into this arena. I just remember looking up after we won the game and seeing my children jumping up and down. For them to be center court and hear my national anthem being played still gives me chills."
BACK IN THE UK: Knicks shooting coach Dave Hopla returns to the UK after previously spending a number of years as a shooting guard with St. Gall’s, based in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Hopla, who also played in South America and the CBA, joined the Knicks last fall after spells as a consultant with the Raptors and Wizards. And it is a very different world now to when he was in his pro career.
“I arrived and we ended up going up to Dublin in a lorry and then we were picked up and taken to Ulster Polytechnic for practice,” he recalled. “I loved every moment I was there. I have some pictures I show people from when I was over there. They always say: ‘I thought you said you were with the same team the whole time.’ I had to explain they changed the sponsor every year.”
One of the media in London, John Wynne of thecourtsidecollective.com, was a ballboy with St. Gall’s when his father Sean was a teammate of Hopla’s. “He was one of the greatest shooters we ever saw in the Irish League,” Wynne confirmed.
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