What's the deal with this starting lineup? Theory
I want to preface this by saying I'm a huge Woodson fan, so I generally trust him to make the decision that's best for the team, but the starting lineup has me scratching my head.
Why 3 guards? Shumpert is listed at 6'5 but is in reality probably 6'3 or 6'4. He's used to guarding shooting guards and point guards. Now he's guarding guys who are 6'8. Woodson seems to be working really hard to keep JR out of the starting lineup - starting Brewer, then Copeland, then starting James White, now Shump. And he seems to be trying really hard to keep Kidd in the starting lineup, even when he doesn't play that many minutes.
I think it's safe to say that 'Melo, Chandler and Felton should be definitely start. But you could go a lot of other ways with the other two spots. If you went with the best players, I'd probably put Stat in at the 4, and start JR, at least until Shump gets back up to speed.
I think you can argue "well hey, it's been working", but actually we've been starting really slowly with this lineup on the floor. It's almost like he's saving too much firepower for our bench - with JR and Amar'e getting all the shots, there's not enough shots to go around for guys like Novak.
Here's my theory: I don't think this is the starting lineup (nor the endgame lineup) that Woodson will roll out by the end of the season. But there are several things preventing Woodson from his ideal lineup: First, Shump is just not back to where he was before the injury, and ironically its his defense that is most questionable right now. He just doesn't have the reaction time to keep up with quick guards. I believe this will change as his health improves. Second, with Sheed and Camby out, Woodson has no option but to put either Chandler or Amare on the floor at any given time, so it makes sense for Amar'e to come off the bench to facilitate that. When Sheed comes back, that could change. Third, Woodson wants to keep Kidd involved for chemistry and leadership reasons, even to the point of over-extending his minutes a little bit. I think he will get him more rest going into the playoffs, so he'll be fresh.
Here's what I'd like to see eventually:
Starting lineup: Felton, Shump, Melo, Stat, Chandler
For the moment, though, why not start Novak, at least against taller small forwards? Obviously this is not a long term solution, but he struggles to get minutes right now and I think the starting 5 needs more offensive firepower. JR and Amare can handle the scoring off the bench.
Just a thought.
The bigger question may be how to end games. Right now, I'd say Felton, JR, 'Melo, Stat and Chandler. But you could switch Shump for JR on defense, or even put Sheed in for Amare you go offense-defense substitutions. Hard to keep Kidd off the floor in clutch situations, too, but I can't justify taking JR out with his clutch shooting.
I think this conversation could all change if they decide to go out and get some pieces. I can see them bringing in an all-around SF to start (and keep Stat on the bench), and I could definitely see them bringing a big or two as insurance down the stretch. This might allow Stat to start. I also think they could use another quick PG to guard the quickest PG's like Rose, Nate Robinson, Rondo etc.