It’s been an up-and-down (mostly down) season, thus far, for the third-year New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert. This coming a few months removed from a month (May) when he was playing lights out, and looked like the second-best player on the Knicks roster — not so long ago, Shumpert was considered to have the most upside of any player on the Knicks roster.
This season, Shumpert has been nearly invisible in the team’s box scores: the guard is averaging 7.3 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game — his struggles are mirroring the struggles of his team. Yes, Shumpert is having a forgettable season, which has led to frequent talks of him being traded.
Did the rumors get to him and shake his confidence?
Is it the absence of Knicks center, Tyson Chandler? On offense, Chandler set screens and created space, which is perfect for someone like Shumpert because Shumpert is not good at creating his own shot. Is it that the Knicks organization has stunted Shumpert’s growth? On offense, Shumpert gets lost in the shuffle alongside Carmelo Anthony and now J.R. Smith; When Smith and Shumpert are on the court at the same time, Shumpert’s game suffers, shooting 22 percent from the field and 10 percent from beyond the arc.
In his rookie year, Shumpert shot 30 percent from the three-point line, and improved in his second year to 40 percent. He obviously worked on his mechanics, so you’d expect Shumpert to contribute more on offense, right? Wrong. This season, Shumpert is taking 12.4 percent of the team’s shots, down from last season’s 15.6 percent. The team hasn’t done a good job in overlooking the guard’s progress on offense, which could lead to his doom.
Shumpert showed flashes of the type of potential he could bring to the Knicks, but maybe the Knicks’ win-now mode has hindered his growth. So what does the third-year guard do? What do the Knicks do? It would be a risk to move Shumpert; Shumpert is a great on-ball defender, so the Knicks, who rank in 29th in defensive efficiency, need all they help they can get on that side of the ball.