New York Knicks head coach Mike Woodson says Jeremy Lin will be a starter next season

Jeremy Lin is obviously the man to play point guard for the Knicks.

Provided Jeremy Lin remains in New York, Knicks head coach Mike Woodson said yesterday on the Michael Kay Show on ESPN Radio that the Asian-American phenomenon would be the starting point guard entering the 2012-2013 season.

The strong endorsement by Woodson, who compiled an extremely impressive mark of 18-6 after replacing the terminated Mike D’Antoni in February, starkly contrasted his weak “only time will tell” statement regarding Lin’s job security on the team’s breakup day last month.

“Right now, he is our starting point guard, without a doubt,” said Woodson, 54, who managed to guide the moribund Atlanta Hawks franchise to consecutive trips to the Eastern Conference Semifinals before getting wrongly canned in 2010. “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.”

Lin, who suffered a torn left meniscus in late-March that required season-ending surgery, averaged 14.6 points and 6.2 assists in 35-games as a Knick.

The 23-year-old Lin will become a restricted free agent this summer and multiple teams are reportedly interested in signing the Harvard University standout of yesteryear.

Woodson, who had his interim tag officially removed on May 25 after agreeing to a multi-year contract extension, is confident the Knicks will retain the former Crimson star.

“That’s what we’re going to do when we get [Lin] signed,” said Woodson, who starred as a shooting guard at Indiana University and was selected by the Knicks with the 12th overall pick in the 1980 NBA Draft. “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.’ ”

Presuming New York fails to land either Jason Kidd or Steve Nash in free agency, Woodson’s decision to “welcome (Lin) back with open arms” isn’t exactly ballsy.

The precocious, and blossoming, Lin is overflowing with potential and the playmaker could do damage if teamed for an entire year with six-time All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire, five-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony and Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler.

If Jeremy Lin were to ink a deal and then not be named the New York Knicks “starting point guard,” Mike Woodson would, “without a doubt,” be the biggest village idiot in Gotham.

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