Mailbag: When will Toure Murray get his number called?

From: Jeremy

Why doesn’t Toure Murry get a chance to play? This team is desperate for a positive shakeup and Murry can at least be a good role player if given the chance.

Ben Kopelman

I can think of two interrelated reasons.

The first is because that is just not how Mike Woodson rolls. Last year’s playoff series against Indiana begged for Chris Copeland to get burn over the freezing cold JR Smith. Everybody in the world could see how off JR was and how badly the Knicks needed a hot hand to help them score points against the defensive-juggernaut Pacers. Woodson finally caved, but his decision came too late and the Knicks fell short. Woodson could have pulled the trigger earlier and maybe it would have saved the season, but he was steadfast in his decision not to. Loyalty counts for something, even when it backfires.

Which leads to the second reason: for the Knicks to get on a winning streak and climb back into the thick of things, guys like JR are going to have to get going. With Tim Hardaway Jr. getting some run right now, Woodson obviously thinks he is better suited letting Smith work his way out of his slump and get his head right, because a benching in favor of Toure Murry could send him into lord knows what kind of spiral, the depths of which he may never come back. Ditto Shumpert — whose trade value you do not want to sabotage with a demotion.

So if Woodson is simply choosing between Murry and a guy like Hardaway, as opposed to a key cog in the wheel, the answer is that Hardaway is likely the guy putting in better practices and with the higher upside, so he gets the nod on a semi-regular basis. At this point they are both young, raw shooters and so Woodson likely sees them in this “either-or” category as opposed to “both.” 

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