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Chris Copeland Needs a Chance for New York Knicks

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

I like Mike Woodson, and I like what he is doing with this New York Knicks team.

But he’s getting a little ridiculous.

The 28 year-old rookie Chris Copeland is the team’s second or third best scoring option at the moment, but Woodson consistently benches him, only giving ‘Cope a chance in garbage time. What does the kid have to do?

Back in January, Woodson said publicly that Copeland wasn’t practicing hard enough. For a defensive minded coach, that is unforgivable, but the youngster showed a positive reaction towards the criticism. “I’m a rookie,” he said. “I have a lot to learn and [Coach] is always on me about getting better. That’s important. It’s still my first year. I still have a lot to learn, for sure.”

The Knicks got smacked by the Golden State Warriors last night, 92-63, in Carmelo Anthony’s first game back after sitting out for three games with a sore knee. Anthony was lackluster at best, hitting just four of his fifteen shots for 14 points.

Amar’e Stoudemire is out for the rest of the regular season, and J.R. Smith, although talented offensively, is frustratingly inconsistent. Last night, after scoring just nine points (3-11 FG) in 21 minutes, Smith got himself ejected for whacking Harrison Barnes in the head as he went up for a layup in the third quarter. The Knicks proceeded to score nine points in the fourth quarter. That’s right- single digits.

With Anthony noticeably hobbled, Stoudemire injured, and Smith not showing up every night, Copeland needs more playing time. Last night in just 18 minutes, ‘Cope scored 15 points on 5-11 shooting, including 3-5 from 3-point range.

Yes, he had four turnovers last night and sometimes plays less than enthusiastic defense.  I understand that. But the rookie, who calls himself “IGB” (“I get buckets”), can score.

Will New York scoring just 63 points over the course of an entire game be enough for Woodson to actually give Copeland a chance?

“’Cope played well,” Woodson said after the blowout. “He’s been giving us some positive minutes. He might have to see more time.”

We’ll see.

Follow Thomas Duffy on Twitter @TD_Knicks for articles, news, and all things NBA.

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