J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert to battle for spot in Knicks' starting lineup

Jim Rogash

Knicks coach Mike Woodson says Shumpert has the inside track on the starting job, but Smith still could take over when he returns from an injury and suspension.

Reigning Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith could join the New York Knicks' starting lineup this season and push Iman Shumpert to the bench, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post.

Knicks coach Mike Woodson has said he wants to go with a more traditional two-guard lineup this season as opposed to the dual point guard look that was extremely successful at times last year. That means either Smith or Shumpert at the 2.

Both Smith and Shumpert are currently dealing with injuries, so neither will be in the starting lineup when the Knicks take the court for their preseason opener against the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night. Smith is rehabbing from offseason knee surgery and is hoping to return to the court by the end of the preseason, although he will have to miss the first five games of the regular season because of a suspension.

Shumpert has been battling a shoulder injury, but he will play on Wednesday. Woodson says that Shumpert has the inside track on the starting spot, according to Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal, but the coach isn't comfortable starting the third-year guard just yet because he hasn't had enough practice time.

Pablo Prigioni, who started 18 games last season, will get the starting nod on Wednesday.

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