Iman Shumpert put on another unexpected offensive outburst against the Houston Rockets which helped to prove that his first outburst versus the San Antonio Spurs was no anomaly. This sudden display of offense couldn’t come at a better time for the New York Knicks, because had Shumpert still been in the middle of his terrible shooting slump the Knicks would have never had a chance to win a game on their Texas road trip.
Shumpert was key for the Knicks in a close victory over the Spurs Thursday night, and he was instrumental against Houston in a loss. Shumpert scored just 25 points in his previous five games combined, but he was able to score 27 points against the Spurs and 26 against the Rockets, respectively. Shumpert’s 26 points against Houston was a team-high for the Knicks, which happens to be the first time a player not named Carmelo Anthony has led the team in scoring this season in a game Anthony has played in.
The Knicks desperately need a second scoring option in their starting rotation, and it is surprising that Shumpert has been able to provide some scoring help. Shumpert has gained a reputation throughout his short career as a perimeter defensive stopper, so he has never been relied upon to provide scoring in the past. Before the change of the calendar year, any scoring provided by Shumpert would have been considered a huge bonus, but things will likely never be the same for him on this Knicks team in the future.
Shumpert may have carved out a new role for himself with his back-to-back stellar performances, and if he can continue scoring the Knicks have a legitimate shot to climb the Atlantic Division standings into the playoffs. No other player in the Knicks’ starting lineup seemed interested in helping Anthony with his scoring responsibility, and Shumpert has stepped in nicely to help New York become a much more competitive team.