Mar 21, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert (21) brings the ball up court during the second quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. The Knicks defeated the Sixers 82-79. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Should Iman Shumpert be in the starting lineup vs. Pistons?

As New York Knicks’ guard Iman Shumpert prepares to make his 2012-13 season debut Thursday against the Detroit Pistons in London, the only question left remaining is exactly what Shump’s role will be?

Apr 28, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert (21) during the first half of game one in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

He will be on a minutes limit initially, but despite that, could Shumpert actually be in the Knicks starting lineup right off the bat?

Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson sees it as a possibility, telling Newsday’s Al Iannazzone:

“We’ll see,” Woodson said, when asked if Shumpert could start. “That could be a possibility, as well, based on him loosening up. If the doctors said that might be the way to go, I wouldn’t be scared of putting him in the starting lineup. He’s been there before.”

It makes sense, given the slow starts that the Knicks have gotten off to during the past 13 games, especially on the defensive end of the floor where Shumpert’s athleticism will give the team a shot in the arm and his perimeter defense will be greatly welcomed.

It also makes a lot of sense to have him on the floor late in games when the Knicks need stops. Everything in between, it will be curious to see how Woodson uses the second-year guard.

Shumpert’s return also should help cut down on Jason Kidd’s heavy workload, as Kidd has been playing a ton of minutes since Raymond Felton went out of the lineup Christmas Day. Woodson may be able to cut down on Kidd’s minutes beginning Thursday, but he should see a good reduction more towards the end of the month when Felton returns.

It remains to see exactly how Woodson will use Shumpert right off the bat, or if he is in the starting lineup on Thursday, but one thing is for sure and that is whatever role Shumpert is used in initially, his return will be a welcomed shot in the arm for a struggling Knicks team.

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