Woodson Names Jeremy Lin Starter

Lin gets the starting nod from his new head coach despite not having a contract.

James LeBeauby James LeBeau

Many people were shocked when the New York Knicks decided to remove the 'interim' out of head coach Mike Woodson's title with a multi-year deal cementing him to coaching the Knicks for the next two years at the very least. The shock came not in that Woodson got the job, as he performed well under pressure in getting the team to the playoffs, but that the Knicks really didn't pursue any big name options to make a splash.

The extending of Woodson's contract shows a bigger commitment to winning for the Knicks, in my opinion, because it shows that basketball is first on their mind, not making headlines. This week, though, Woodson showed not only that he can make some news but that he knows how to work the public sentiment a bit when he made the announcement that Jeremy Lin is the Knicks' starting point guard.

Lin, a breakout worldwide phenomenon from this past season before injuring himself and missing a chunk of the season and all of the playoffs, is currently a restricted free agent, but that didn't stop Woodson from going on the Michael Kay show on ESPN Radio and declaring that Lin was his starting point guard.

"Right now, he is our starting point guard, without a doubt," Woodson said. "I've always believed this: When a starter goes down he doesn't lose his job because of an injury. You welcome him back with open arms when he gets healthy and you keep it moving."

As for the part about Lin being a free agent, Woodson isn't concerned about that, stating, "we'll get him back in uniform … and get him ready for practice and camp and throw the ball in his hands and say, 'Let's go.' "

If Lin gets a legit start and can show improvement from last season, he may be the key in getting the Knicks a playoff series win next season. Of course, that's a big 'if' at this point, but stranger things have happened.

James LeBeau is a sports contributor for CraveOnline Sports and you can follow him on Twitter @JleBeau76 or subscribe on Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.

Photo Credit: AP