For the first time since his rookie season, Iman Shumpert is a bench player for the New York Knicks. The 6-foot-5 guard Georgia Tech product quickly earned his ups in his rookie season, becoming a crowd favorite and forcing his way into the starting lineup. A devastating knee injury ended his rookie campaign early, but his future was bright with the Knicks.
Two years and two more less severe knee injuries later, and it appears as if Shumpert’s career might not be as glorious as once thought. His field goal percentage has gone down in each of the past three seasons: 40.1 percent his rookie season, 39.6 percent last season to an awful 37 percent this season. In tandem, his scoring output has followed suit: 9.5 points per game his rookie season, 6.8 PPG last season and 6.7 PPG this season. He showed an improved outside touch in his sophomore year, jumping from 30.6 percent from downtown his rookie season to 40.2 percent last year, but this season he has regressed to 34.1 percent.
The most worrisome part is that he has been healthy for the majority of this season and may end up playing a career-high in games played and total minutes. After he sprained his knee about a month ago, Shumpert was in risk of losing his starting job. He has come off the bench for the Knicks the last two games; here are his numbers since he returned from injury: 3.3 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 1.0 APG in 19 minutes per game. He has attempted 17 shots over the past three games — four have gone in.
Shumpert might be in line for a change of scenery this offseason. He surely hasn’t been groomed properly and isn’t in a system that is conducive to his style of play. He is only 23, so giving up on him now would be foolish. But after 160 NBA games, Shumpert has yet to show, at least consistently, that he has improved at all in his three years with the Knicks.