The New York Knicks are somewhat of a wildcard heading into the 2013-2014 NBA season. They still have Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and Tyson Chandler, as well as the additions of Metta World Peace, Andrea Bargnani and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. However, much of the Knicks success this season is going to depend upon Iman Shumpert.
When he returned to the floor from injury last season, his second year in the league, Shumpert played in 45 games, starting in all of them. However, he was less than stellar in his performance. He averaged 6.8 points, three rebounds, 1.7 assists and one steal in 22.1 minutes per game, but shot only 39.6 percent from the floor. He did shoot 40.2 percent from three, but that really wasn’t enough to outweigh his shortcomings.
Part of Shumpert’s development is going to involve him accepting a role as more of a spot-up threat than a player who creates his own opportunities. While he averaged only 0.71 points per possession in isolation sets last season and shot just 32.9 percent from the field, he averaged 1.1 points per possession and shot 41.2 percent in spot-up opportunities.
Moreover, Shumpert needs to work on his defensive impact. With his athleticism and energy, he has the potential to be a solid defender. However, he allowed 0.87 points per possession last season, just the 195th best rate in the league. He needs to put in the work to improve on that end of the floor.
The reason the Knicks are going to depend so much on Shumpert is that he is going to be featured a lot on the wings. With Smith coming off of the bench and World Peace getting up there in age, Shumpert is going to see a lot of important time on the wings. If he plateaus from last season, that’s going to be an issue. The Knicks need him to improve and keep developing if they want to reach their maximum potential.