New York Knicks Should Start Iman Shumpert at Point Guard

By Ken Scudero
Iman Shumpert
Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

If the New York Knicks had a decent point guard, they wouldn’t be struggling to make the playoffs with 12 games left in the regular season. Poor point guard play has hindered their progress all season long, and it’s only gotten worse. It’s a toss up when you try to decide if Raymond Felton is a better person on the court or off the court. He’s had his personal criminal troubles at home, and he’s been pretty awful on the court. He has a good game shooting and passing every five or six games, and he never plays good defensively. Pablo Prigioni is an average backup point guard on his best day, and you don’t win with those types.

This brings me to a question which I’ve been asking myself for quite some time. Why don’t the Knicks start Iman Shumpert at point guard? What’s the worst that could happen? Shumpert has had a very disappointing season, but he is playing better of late. He’s had some good games shooting from the field, and his passing has improved greatly.There are plenty of holes in Shumpert’s game, but I honestly think he is a better point guard, at this point, than Felton.

Shumpert plays defense, and not only does he play it, he plays it pretty well. Opposing point guards have killed the Knicks all season whether they’re All-Stars or not. Having Shumpert matched up on the opposing team’s point guard is already an enormous upgrade from Felton. This is the most important reason why Shumpert should be starting in Felton’s place. It will shave off plenty of easy baskets point guards score on Felton.

Shumpert averaged 4.2 apg in his three years at Georgia Tech, where he played point guard regularly. He’s familiar with the position and would have no problem stepping into that role. He needs to drive to the basket more because he has great skills around the hoop. He hasn’t done this, and that’s why he isn’t scoring as much. He’s learning to become a perimeter shooter, and that’s why it’s taken him all season to improve. Shumpert distributes the ball well and gets plays going — two key attributes of a good point guard.

This is only a suggestion, which absolutely will not hurt the Knicks. Shumpert’s defense alone will benefit the team against opposing point guards. You can start J.R. Smith or Tim Hardaway Jr. alongside Shumpert in the back court for a few games and see how it goes. I guarantee that if coach Mike Woodson would switch things up and try this, you’d see good results.

Ken Scudero is a New York Knicks writer for Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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