With the preseason getting underway, a lot of eyes will be on New York Knicks’ third-year player Iman Shumpert this season, as his progress is of critical importance to the Knicks for not only this year, but for the future as well.
After a strike-shortened rookie season which ended with a torn ACL in the playoffs (which would ultimately delay his development in his sophomore season), Shumpert is finally entering a full season in, for the most part, good health.
While Shumpert has some shoulder soreness at the moment (not considered serious), he comes into camp as the ultimate wild card. Shumpert wants this season to be a clean year of pain-free basketball.
“I’m just glad it’s not my knee, man, honestly,” he said with a smile. “It’s the first time I’ve been healthy, so they want to make sure I’m healthy before I go back out there.”
The multi-versatile Shumpert can play many positions on the floor and his youth and flexibility will be an asset the Knicks can count on in the 2013-14 season. And now that he is healthy, he is expected to take on more of the load this year. While Carmelo Anthony, of course, is the primary scorer for the club, Shumpert will have chances in Mike Woodson’s offense to be a secondary scorer.
It would also be great if Shumpert’s ball handling and shooting improves this season, as those aspects of his game have held him back a tad in the past.
While he had better numbers in his rookie season, last year has to be viewed as a mulligan, as Shumpert was working his way back from his knee injury. This is the year where all things fall into place and his talent is put on full display.
But will Shumpert be a starter or a key contributor off the bench?
Well, Woodson has a lot of moving parts to work with and Shumpert is included among other veterans fighting for a spot in the starting lineup.
“This is a competitive camp,” Woodson said following practice. “Anything can happen. Nothing has ever been set in stone. I’m not guaranteeing no spots. You have to go out and earn them.”
That said, as long as Shumpert is healthy, he is primed to take the next step (starter or not) in his game and the Knicks will be a better team for it.
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