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New York Knicks’ Iman Shumpert and Chris Smith Playing Summer League Ball

June 23rd, 2013 at 8:00 AM
By Matt Agne

Despite the fact that the tight lipped New York Knicks haven't officially announce their summer league roster yet, both Iman Shumpert and Chris Smith are expected to participate. Both missed extensive time during the 2012-13 season and although there is the risk of re-injury while playing in the Las Vegas the Knicks feel both could use the reps.

'New York Knicks' photo (c) 2013, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Iman Shumpert missed the first two-and-a-half months of the season after having off-season ACL surgery. Chris Smith missed the entire 2012-13 season he tore his ACL during the pre-season. Now it appears the both of them will make up for their lost reps during the summer league in Las Vegas.

Interestingly enough, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork reports the Knicks intend on using Shumpert at point guard in Las Vegas.

The Knicks may ask Shumpert to play point guard during summer league. There is an inherent risk, of course, with asking Shumpert to play in organized games during the summer. It would be devastating for the organization if Shumpert suffered an injury, and the move to play him would then be heavily second-guessed. 

This will be the first time Shumpert plays point guard since his rookie year when Mike D'Antoni played him out of position. It will be interesting to see if they actually want to see how his point guard skills have developed or if they want him to play a position that will require the most out of his surgically repaired ACL.

With Raymond Felton's success largely coming next to another point guard and the fact the Knicks really don't have any depth behind him, Shumpert may be groomed as the point guard of the future if he proves he can handle the position. He may also get time as the point guard of the second unit next season when Felton goes to the bench and players like J.R. Smith and others come in.

'New York Knicks' photo (c) 2013, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

As for Chris Smith, he may have been released after suffering his ACL injury but he was allowed to rehab and work out at the Knicks' practice facility. He'll use the summer league as an opportunity to prove he's back at full strength in an attempt to secure an invite to training camp.

There's an outside chance that Chris could earn himself a spot on the regular season roster. Not only is Chris a solid defender but the Knicks also have a clear need for depth at the point guard position.

However, Chris — who is widely judged as a player not worthy of an NBA contract — is clearly getting a chance with New York because of the teams' connection with his brother J.R. It just so happens that J.R. is a free agent this summer. The Knicks want J.R. back but there is little doubt he can find a bigger contract elsewhere. That being said, New York is the one place he could possibly play with his brother. Don't think for one second the Knicks won't take full advantage of that during negotiations. 

Tags: Basketball, Chris Smith, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Mike D'antoni, NBA, New York, New York Knicks

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