Feb 4, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Chris Copeland (14) shoots a free throw during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Madison Square Garden. Knicks won 99-85. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Copeland: Why journeyman could play major role in absence of Amar'e

As the injuries continue to mount for the New York Knicks, the latest being Amar’e Stoudemire’s knee injury that will keep him out up to six weeks, Knicks’ head coach Mike Woodson is going to have to tinker with his rotation once again.

This is nothing new for Woodson as he hasn’t had a full complement of players all season long. But while it is expected that Kenyon Martin will have a much bigger role in Stoudemire’s absence, someone else should as well.

January 30, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Chris Copeland (14) passes while defended by Orlando Magic forward DeQuan Jones (20) during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Journeyman forward Chris Copeland should become a big part of Woodson’s rotation the rest of the regular season, if for any reason to help replace Stoudemire’s scoring that they counted on during the course of the past couple of months.

The rookie is averaging only 6.6 points on the season, but he has been much more impressive than that and is one guy that has seemed to take advantage of his limited minutes this season.

Copeland’s per 36 minutes average is quite impressive at 20.6 points during that span and he’s shooting 49.1 percent from the floor on the season. He’s also a guy that can score from both the inside and outside, shooting 36.4 percent from behind the arc on the season. During Saturday’s blowout win over the Utah Jazz, Copeland showed that scoring ability, finishing with 12 points in just seven fourth quarter minutes.

With Stoudemire out and Carmelo Anthony still listed as questionable for Monday night’s game in Golden State, Woodson knows that Copeland needs to be given more minutes.

“Cope can score the basketball,” the coach said to ESPN’s Jared Zwerling and Ian Begley. “On our bench, I need guys that can score. I’m not going to hesitate to throw Cope in because I know he can do that. He does it very well. I’ve just got to get him committed on the other end. I wouldn’t be doing my job if I just let him go one way. Tonight, I thought he proved a little bit that he deserves to be on the floor.”

Of course the problem with playing Copeland more is the fact that he doesn’t offer much except scoring,

To say that Copeland isn’t a very good defensive player would be kind and he doesn’t rebound well for a 6’9″ forward.

But the kid can score the ball and the Woodson needs to take some pressure off of Anthony (when he returns) and J.R. Smith as Copeland can help add some energy and scoring punch to the second unit.

When you look at how the Knicks will replace the loss of Stoudemire, Woodson might not have to look very far as Copeland could end up being the right guy for the job.

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Tags: Amare Stoudemire Chris Copeland New York Knicks

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