On April 28th, 2012, New York Knicks rookie Iman Shumpert collapsed on Miami’s court, in Game 1 of last year’s first round of the playoffs, as he suffered an untimely ACL tear.
Shumpert missed the beginning of the season but made his comeback in the winter. Those games were brutal to watch. His athleticism wasn’t the same and we no longer saw that elite defender that was usually the best athlete on the floor. No, what we saw was a shell of his former self. Shumpert was hesitant when moving around, and he lost his explosiveness and confidence.
This past Sunday—Game 4 against the Boston Celtics—a year later since his ACL tear, and he started to resemble his rookie self. The guard was impressive in the second half Sunday against Boston. He finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Since his return on January 17, Shumpert has seen his athleticism come back in bits and pieces. Of course his explosiveness is not quite at 100 percent yet, but it will be. But that shouldn’t matter as long as he keeps playing like a menacing defender and rebounder—who is now armed with a dangerous three-point shot.
Shumpert has proven that he is an important player in the Knicks’ lineup, and will play a key role in the Knicks’ path to a championship. His explosiveness is still a work in progress but he has been able to work on the other aspects of his game: his decision-making and shooting. Shumpert has improved his 3-point accuracy, improving from 30.6 percent in his rookie season to 40.2 percent this year. Shumpert’s turnover rate also decreased from 13 percent to nine percent.
The way Shumpert has been playing recently, it’s a good thing Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald decided to pass on the Phoenix Sun’s offer to trade Jared Dudley for Shumpert.
Shumpert’s game continues to improve, his knee has healed, and his confidence is almost there. One thing’s for sure, though: Iman Shumpert is back.