Mike Woodson to Play Chris Copeland More But Won’t Abandon Struggling Jason Kidd

by May 16, 2013

All one has to do is take a cursory glance at Twitter during a Knicks game to realize just how much the team’s fans hate that Chris Copeland has been glued to the bench during the second round Playoff series against the Indiana Pacers. Head coach Mike Woodson has inexplicably stuck with Jason Kidd — who hasn’t hit a shot since, approximately, the Ice Age — but that will change in Game 5 tonight, with the Knicks facing elimination. Per the NY Times: “He will give Chris Copeland more minutes and still play Jason Kidd. Copeland is a 29-year-old rookie who might be able to provide a desperately needed spark on offense. Jason Kidd is a 40-year-old future Hall of Famer who has not scored since April 23 — when the Knicks were playing their opening-round series against the Boston Celtics. Yet Woodson feels both players can do their part to help extend the Knicks’ season. ‘Chris Copeland will play early tonight,’ Woodson said. ‘We will stick him in there. He was in that second unit when we anchored in the second game and we’re going to go back to that and see how that works.’ Copeland has played 31 minutes in the series against the Pacers. He has scored 15 points while shooting 5 of 10 from the field. But in those games Woodson was reluctant to play Copeland because of his inexperience and his liabilities as a defender. […] Early in the season, Kidd was a major part of the Knicks’ success. He helped improved the team’s ball movement, was a mentor for Carmelo Anthony and he made open 3-pointers. Woodson also praised his intangible qualities. Now the Knicks are hoping Kidd can do something tangible against the Pacers on Thursday. In Game 4, Kidd looked to have an easy layup, but the ball rolled off the rim. That stretched his streak of minutes played without a basked to 178, during which he has missed all 16 of his shots. In the playoffs, the Knicks had been outscored when Kidd is on the court by 5.3 points per 100 possessions. ‘Kidd has had his ups and down,’ Woodson said. ‘There’s no doubt about that. Again, in the second game, it was Kidd who orchestrated that second unit to give us the cushion that we needed. It was Kidd when we made the run – and Pablo Prigioni – into that third and fourth quarter when we blew it out. By any means I’m not throwing Kidd to the curb. Yes, his minutes are down a little bit, but he’s still a big part of what we do.’ Kidd’s personal shooting coach since 2005, Bob Thate has been watching from afar — because he became the Los Angeles Clippers’ shooting coach this season — and watched his play deteriorate. ‘Mechanically, he’s making a couple of mistakes,’ Thate said of Kidd’s shooting motion. ‘We’ve texted, but he knows what he’s doing wrong. My guess is he doesn’t feel comfortable shooting the ball.'”