New York Knicks: Iman Shumpert

Melo: Tyson deserves cheers in MSG return

December, 15, 2014
Dec 15
6:00
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Anthony/ChandlerGetty ImagesIn Melo's mind, booing big man Tyson Chandler in his Tuesday MSG return wouldn't make much sense.
GREENBURGH, N.Y. –- Tyson Chandler returns to Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night, and Carmelo Anthony said the former Knicks center deserves a warm reception.

“I hope they cheer for him,” Anthony said about when the Mavericks visit the Knicks. “He was a guy who came in and won Defensive Player of the Year here. He was a big part to what we were trying to create here and what we did at one point in time."

“I don’t think they need to boo him or anything,” Anthony continued. “The only reason you boo him [is] because he’s on another team. If you want to do that, then you should boo everybody that’s on another team. I don’t think you should boo him because he left the New York Knicks.”

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What might be more interesting is to see how Knicks fans feel after Tuesday night’s game. The last time Chandler played the Knicks, he gave them a harsh reminder of what they traded away, dropping 17 points and a season-high 25 rebounds to go with two blocked shots in a 109-102 win in Dallas.

The 5-21 Knicks sure could use Chandler this season. Without him, the Knicks lack presence inside the paint. Amar'e Stoudemire has probably exceeded expectations this season, but the Knicks desperately need an intimidating big man.

Chandler and Raymond Felton were dealt to Dallas in the offseason in a trade that brought back Jose Calderon, Samuel Dalembert, Shane Larkin, Wayne Ellington and two second-round picks. The deal was largely made by Phil Jackson to unload Felton, but it cost them their best defender and rebounder along with Chandler’s expiring contract.

Jackson also said he was trying to improve team chemistry and “start with some character guys” when explaining the trade. Last season, Chandler made some headlines when he questioned Mike Woodson’s defensive schemes.

By the end of a disappointing 37-45 campaign, Chandler seemed ready for a fresh start elsewhere, as he and some of his teammates took their fair share of heat for last season’s struggles.

“That’s the state of our game, man,” Anthony said when asked about how some people made Chandler to be a scapegoat for the Knicks' disappointing season last year.

“That’s what we have to deal with as players. If something ain’t going right, they find somebody to pin it on. In Tyson’s situation, they [critics] said it was him. That’s the nature of our game. There’s always going to be somebody that they point the finger at. In that situation, it was him during that time.”

“I don’t see anything he did wrong,” Anthony added. “I think he did a great job of coming to play when he was here.”

Chandler looked like he had something to prove to the Knicks when they last met, on Nov. 26.

Anthony sat out that game due to back spasms but watched Chandler create havoc against the Knicks.

“I remember him having a hell of a game,” Anthony said. “I was drugged up that day [due to the back pain]. ... Everything was kind of blurry to me. But I watched it, I saw it, how impactful he was during that game, how excited he was to play against us.”

Of course, the Knicks have more things to worry about than what kind of reception Chandler draws in his Garden return. The Knicks just need to win and pull through in a tight game for once.

Stoudemire hopes Chandler’s presence will add buzz to the game.

“I think [Tuesday] is going to be a great game for us and also for Dallas with Tyson being back in New York,” Stoudemire said.

"Tyson gave us some good years, he truly did, he was a true pro,” Stoudemire added. “His defensive methods were great. I think the crowd will give him a cheer because 'once a Knick, you're always a Knick.' He does play for Dallas, and they might not cheer him for all too long."

The System: The Knicks had some success using some pick-and-roll sets during Sunday’s overtime loss to Toronto. Anthony, though, believes the Knicks are getting better at the triangle.

“I don’t want to keep talking about the system,” Anthony said when asked if learning the triangle is still an issue. “The system is just a foundation of what we are trying to run on the offensive end. It is just a matter of what we do in that system.

“Yesterday we did some things that didn’t involve the actual system, and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t,” Anthony added. “I do think we are getting better at learning the actual system and learning the counters to the system. Now we got to start believing in it more and becoming more comfortable day by day.”

Injury report: The Knicks practiced on Monday but had several players sit out. Anthony (recovery), Larkin (illness), J.R. Smith (left plantar fascia), Pablo Prigioni (sore ankle), Iman Shumpert (left shoulder) and Stoudemire (recovery) all did not practice.

Shumpert shoulders blame in loss

November, 8, 2014
Nov 8
2:51
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NEW YORK -- There was plenty of blame to go around after the New York Knicks’ lopsided loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

But guard Iman Shumpert accepted full responsibility for the defeat.

“I’m gonna take this one. Deron Williams got to do whatever he wanted out there,” said Shumpert, who was matched up against the Nets point guard Friday.

“I got to get better with controlling the ball after him coming off the ball screen. I didn’t do a good job of that tonight. As a reflection of that, our bigs got in foul trouble [and the Nets] hit 3s from everywhere on the court because he kept getting into that paint. I got to do a better job of getting over the ball screens and not letting him get into our defense. ... Tonight, he had his way with me. I’ll take that.”

Williams scored a game-high 29 points on 10-for-15 shooting and recorded six assists. He didn’t score all of his points on Shumpert, but Shumpert was primarily matched up against Williams.

Shumpert, who is known as a strong perimeter defender, played lead guard for the Knicks on Friday because Jose Calderon (calf) and Pablo Prigioni (ankle) were out.

Carmelo Anthony didn’t want Shumpert to take all of the blame for the loss.

“I know how much he loves to play defense, and how much he loves matchups, so him saying that it’s his fault, you need to take that with a grain of salt and help him out,” Anthony said. “We’re all in the NBA, no one person can stop another one person. We gotta help him out and do a better job.”

Fish says Knicks' effort needs to improve: Knicks coach Derek Fisher told his team that it needed to play with more effort after the ugly loss to Brooklyn.

"He was saying that we can just play harder,” Shane Larkin said. “He was like, 'We know the triangle is going to take time. We can’t blame it on the triangle; the triangle is going to take time. We’ve got to come out here and play hard.'"

Larkin added, “Brooklyn’s a talented team but there’s no way Brooklyn should run us off the court like that. There’s no way Detroit should be up by 17 on us like that [as it was on Wednesday]. We’ve just got to come out and play a lot harder. ... As a point guard, I can come out with more energy, so that’s one thing I can do to help improve the team.”

Question: What do you think is the Knicks’ biggest issue right now?


You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Shump 'can't worry' about free agency

November, 3, 2014
Nov 3
5:43
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Iman Shumpert says he isn’t worried about his potential free agency in the summer of 2015 after the Knicks declined to extend his contract at the Oct. 31 deadline.

“I can’t think about that. We make the playoffs and I do what I’m supposed to do, things will happen,” Shumpert said late Sunday night. “But until I do that, I can’t worry about it. ...

“I’m worried about winning games. Like I’ve said, that was the worst year of my life last year and I don’t ever want to feel that again. Mentally I just want to keep playing well and keep everything positive.”

So far, so good.

Shumpert has played a key role in the Knicks’ past two wins, particularly late in games. His fourth-quarter defense on LeBron James was key in New York’s win over Cleveland on Thursday.

On Sunday, Shumpert was disruptive on defense in the fourth quarter against Charlotte. He also knocked down a 3-pointer with two minutes to play to tie the game, finishing with a season-high 15 points, six rebounds and four assists. Shumpert made five of his 11 shots, many of which appeared to come within the framework of the offense.

“I think in practicing all those shots and in games, I know if I come off a screen and they deliver the ball right away I know I’m probably wide open,” Shumpert said. “Just step and knock it in.”

Derek Fisher has started Shumpert at shooting guard in the season’s first three games. On Sunday night, Shumpert was asked if that was an indication to him that he was a part of the Knicks’ future.

“I’ve started most of the time I’ve been in a Knick jersey, so I just think they want me to bring a certain energy every night. They want me to bring that defensive presence because they know I can make something out of nothing on defense and I think they just want me to bring that defensive presence every day,” Shumpert said. “I don’t think it has anything to do with an extension.”

The Knicks appear to be focused on creating as much cap space as possible to use in free agency this coming summer. It will be interesting to see how this approach impacts their thinking on Shumpert.


Acy probable for Wizards game:
Quincy Acy landed awkwardly after a hard fall in Sunday’s win over Charlotte and is listed as probable for Tuesday’s game against Washington. Fisher expects him to play, but the coach is not ready to announce his starting lineup. There is a possibility that Fisher may go with a different lineup than the one he’s used over the past two games, featuring Acy at power forward and Samuel Dalembert at center.

Question: What do you think the Knicks should do with Shumpert this summer?


You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Knicks decline Larkin; no Shumpert deal

November, 1, 2014
Nov 1
9:45
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The New York Knicks have declined to pick up point guard Shane Larkin's third-year option. They've also decided against offering Iman Shumpert a contract extension. Both moves are yet another indication that the organization hopes to add significant talent in free agency this summer.

Shumpert
Larkin
The two moves became official at midnight Friday, which was the deadline to both extend and pick up options for players on their rookie contracts. Now that his option hasn't been picked up, Larkin will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. Larkin can still re-sign with the Knicks but only for up to the amount of the option that was declined, which is $1,675,320.

Shumpert likely will become a restricted free agent, assuming the Knicks make him a qualifying offer by June 30.

Deciding against extending Shumpert and declining Larkin's option are both risks. Larkin and Shumpert could have strong seasons and end up signing with other teams in free agency.

Obviously, that's a risk the Knicks are willing to take. It is also another sign that the organization is making free agency in 2015 and 2016 a top priority. Had they opted to pick up Larkin's option or extend Shumpert, the transaction would have eaten into their cap space in the summer of 2015 and, in Shumpert's case, 2016.

With the contracts for Amar'e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani set to expire, the Knicks are expected to have enough cap space to sign a max-salary player this summer.

Marc Gasol, Greg Monroe and Rajon Rondo, among others, are expected to test the market in the 2015 offseason.

Depending on how the Knicks spend their money this summer and how the new TV contract impacts the salary cap, New York might be able to chase max free agents in summer 2016, when Kevin Durant is expected to be available.

Question: Do you think the Knicks should have picked up Shane Larkin's option? What about extending Iman Shumpert? Do you think it's wise that they are risking losing Larkin and Shumpert in the hope of landing a potential free agent?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Source: Knicks open to dealing J.R., Shump

July, 20, 2014
Jul 20
4:22
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Iman Shumpert, JR Smith, Shane LarkinGetty ImagesThe Knicks are willing to trade Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith and Shane Larkin. But who should go?
Working to clear the logjam in the backcourt, the Knicks are discussing their potential trade options with guards J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert and Shane Larkin, a league source said Sunday.

“They’re working on trying to make a move in the backcourt,” the NBA source familiar with the Knicks’ thinking said Sunday.

The idea that the Knicks are trying to make a trade to balance the roster isn’t earth-shattering. President Phil Jackson and GM Steve Mills have mentioned the Knicks have a surplus in the backcourt, with Mills saying last week the Knicks are “heavy” at shooting guard.

The issue for the Knicks, of course, is deciding whom to send out in a trade and figuring out what they can get in return in such a transaction.

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Tim Hardaway Jr. has been deemed virtually untouchable, per a source.

Smith, the 2012-13 Sixth Man Award winner, has a player option in his contract for $6.4 million for the 2015-16 season and is coming off what he called the worst season of his NBA career. As such, it is unclear how much interest he could draw on the open market.

Shumpert is viewed as a strong defender but couldn’t find his comfort zone on offense last season. He was made available in several trade proposals throughout the season. His value at this point in the trade market is also unclear.

Larkin was recently acquired from the Mavericks in the trade that also netted Jose Calderon and Samuel Dalembert.

The Knicks tried to include Shumpert in deals earlier in the offseason in an effort to unload the contracts of Andrea Bargnani ($11.5 million) and Amar'e Stoudemire ($23.4 million). No deal materialized for either player. It is unclear if such packages are still being discussed or if the guards are being offered individually at this point.

The Knicks have four shooting guards on the roster. They also haven’t ruled out re-signing free-agent PG/SG Toure' Murry. He has drawn interest from the Utah Jazz and Miami Heat, according to a report Sunday from the Salt Lake Tribune.

Question: If you were Phil Jackson or Steve Mills, would you trade one of the Knicks' guards? If so, who and why?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Knicks trying to ship Amar'e to Philly

July, 8, 2014
Jul 8
11:02
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Knicks president Phil Jackson has talked to multiple teams in recent days -– including the Philadelphia 76ers –- about moving Amar’e Stoudemire in an effort to clear more cap space this summer, sources say.

Moving Stoudemire and his $23.4 million contract would allow the Knicks to take back players in a sign-and-trade and could give them more money to offer free agents such as Pau Gasol.

The New York Post, which earlier reported the Knicks talks with Philly regarding Stoudemire, reports that the Knicks are unwilling to include Iman Shumpert in such a transaction.

An extra piece such as Shumpert may be a prerequisite for a deal with Philadelphia, which has $30 million in cap space and can take on a contract such as Stoudemire's. The Sixers have also been mentioned as a team willing to take back Jeremy Lin's contract from the Rockets.

A league source says Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr.'s name has also been discussed in some iterations of deals involving Stoudemire but the Knicks are not inclined to include the second-year shooting guard in any deals.

The source says the Knicks are also trying to move Andrea Bargnani and his $11.5 million salary in an effort to create cap space to make a run at free agents this summer.

All of this supports the notion that Jackson's intention is to try to rebuild the Knicks' roster as soon as possible instead of waiting until the summer of 2015 to reshape it.

It should be noted, however, that Stoudemire had an extremely strong finish to the season last year and is healthy this offseason for the first time in three summers. So his on-court value this season to the Knicks shouldn't be automatically dismissed.

Question: Do you think Phil should include Shumpert or Tim Hardaway Jr. in a deal to get Amar'e off of the books?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Which guard is on the trading block?

June, 29, 2014
Jun 29
4:57
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The New York Knicks have nine guards on the roster. Phil Jackson knows that needs to change.

"We obviously have to balance that out as the summer goes along," Jackson said Thursday. "... So we’ll work on that, we’ll get that straightened out."

Translation: don't be surprised if Jackson swings another trade or two before training camp or the start of the regular season.

Jackson said on Thursday that he's been getting calls "about a couple of players" in recent days. He declined to name which players teams have been calling about.

ESPN.com's Marc Stein reported last week that the Knicks were dangling Iman Shumpert in trade talks with the hope of getting a first round pick in the 2014 Draft. That never came to fruition, of course.

There were also reports that New York was looking to trade guard Shane Larkin to obtain a first-round pick. Instead, they held onto their second-round picks and selected Thanasis Antetokounempo and Cleanthony Early.

Rules stipulate that The Knicks can trade any player obtained in their trade last week with Dallas at any point. But if they want to package one of the players in a deal with another Knick to combine salaries, they will have to wait 60 days from the trade to do so.

So Jackson has plenty of options to work with on the trade market.

Below, we take a brief look at the potential implications of moving some of the players on the Knicks roster:

Shumpert: He struggled to find consistency on offense last season but some believe the tall guard and talented defender can succeed in Jackson's triangle offense. He has the length and speed to help the Knicks defend the perimeter and his value may be even higher in light of the Knicks' acquisition of Jose Calderon in last week's trade. Calderon is a sub-par defender and Shumpert can help compensate and cover for the veteran PG.

Larkin: He's one of four point guards on the Knicks' roster (potential free agent Tour'e Murry, Pablo Prigioni and Jose Calderon are the others) so a move needs to be made at that position. The second-year player struggled to find his footing after an ankle injury derailed him earlier in his rookie season. Shouldn't the Knicks give him a chance to show why he was selected n the first round last season?

J.R. Smith: Smith is one of five shooting guards on the Knicks roster (including free agent Shannon Brown), so this is another position Jackson could look to tinker with before the start of the season. Some wonder how Smith will fare in Phil's offense, but the feeling here is that the Knicks should see how Jackson's presence can impact the former Sixth Man Award winner. Smith shot the ball extremely well from behind the arc late last season. His outside shooting could be a huge plus for New York next season. Plus, Smith has two seasons left on his deal, making him hard to move.

Question: Do you think the Knicks should deal Shumpert? Larkin? J.R. Smith? Someone else?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Should Knicks trade Shump for a pick?

June, 26, 2014
Jun 26
3:51
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Earlier this week, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reported that the Knicks were trying to trade into the first round of tonight's draft, offering teams Iman Shumpert in exchange for a pick. After Wednesday’s Tyson Chandler trade, there was speculation that the Knicks will use some of their acquisitions to try to get in the first round. They also have two second-round picks to offer and $1.8 in cash to offer to get into the first round.

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Should the Knicks trade Shumpert or Larkin for a first-round pick?

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Below, we take a brief look at the pros and cons of the Knicks trading into the first round tonight:

Pros: Shumpert struggled for much of last season, so the Knicks would have a chance to start fresh with a player who makes less money than the 2011 first-round pick. The Knicks have their eyes on P.J. Hairston, the ex-UNC guard whom they worked out earlier this month. If Hairston falls to late in the first round, the Knicks may look to deal Shumpert or, according to several reports, the recently acquired Shane Larkin, to try and get Hairston. They also have reportedly been interested in Syracuse guard Tyler Ennis. The Knicks also could have interest in Shabazz Napier and Jahii Carson.

Hairston is seen by scouts as a strong shooter who has the ability to get to the basket. He had a nice campaign in the D-League last season after his dismissal from UNC. Ennis had a strong season at Syracuse. Either player could end up being a nice rotation piece for New York.

Cons: Shumpert is seen by some as a guard who is built to succeed in the triangle. He's drawn comparisons to ex-Bulls and Lakers guard Ron Harper. Shumpert is long and is a solid defender, but he has struggled with his outside shot in recent years. Of course, Shumpert may have been impacted by the Knicks’ offensive system -- or lack thereof -- last season. So, some scouts feel he can turn things around under Phil Jackson and Derek Fisher in the triangle offense. By dealing him away, the Knicks won’t be able to find out if Shumpert can succeed in the triangle or not.

Also, when it comes to Larkin, the former University of Miami guard was a first-round pick, so the Knicks would essentially be dealing last year’s first-round pick for this year's. That could be a lateral move instead of a step forward. But, of course, that depends on the player available. So the bigger risk, we think, would be to trade Shumpert for a first-rounder.

Question: Do you think the Knicks should trade Shumpert or Larkin for a late first-round pick?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.
For most of the season, it seemed as if Iman Shumpert's days as a Knick were numbered.

Shumpert’s name was floated in several trade rumors throughout the first few months of the year. The Knicks nearly completed a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers to flip Shumpert for Darren Collison prior to the Feb. 20 trade deadline.

It seemed at the time that the Knicks would revisit talks to trade Shumpert at some point in the 2014 offseason.

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Should the Knicks keep Iman Shumpert?

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But the team then hired Phil Jackson to serve as president. And the thinking on Shumpert changed.

ESPN New York reported that Shumpert was one of the players that impressed Jackson when he watched the team before being hired.

The New York Post also reported, citing a league source, that Shumpert is still “part” of the Knicks’ future.

Jackson mentioned Shumpert by name when speaking with reporters last week, praising the third-year guard’s effort on the defensive end in the Knicks’ win over Brooklyn.

Why would Phil love Shumpert?

One source with knowledge of Jackson’s thinking says he likes how Shumpert could fit into his triangle offense and serve as a catalyst for the Knicks on defense.

Jackson has used big guards in the triangle in the past. The name most often mentioned when talking about the 6-foot-5 Shumpert is Ron Harper.

Jackson also stressed in his chat with reporters last week how much he values players applying pressure on defense. Shumpert’s widely regarded as one of the top perimeter defenders in the league.

According to a new metric that measures a player’s defensive value, Shumpert is the third-best defender among shooting guards in the NBA.

“I think Phil sees his value on both ends of the floor,” the source said.

So it appears that Shumpert has Jackson in his corner. But can the Zen Master unlock Shumpert’s potential on offense?

[+] EnlargeKnicks
Sam Sharpe/USA TODAY SportsKnicks third-year guard Iman Shumpert could be a key piece in President Phil Jackson's grand plan.
The former first-round pick has shown in brief stretches that he can provide a scoring punch. He averaged 20.8 points on 68.8 percent shooting over a three-game stretch in early January.

But Shumpert has been wildly inconsistent on offense for much of the season.

Shumpert's per-game scoring (6.6 points) and shooting percentage (38 percent) have regressed this year.

Which leads us to the question: Do you believe Shumpert can thrive with the Knicks under Jackson’s guidance?

Up now: Ex-Knicks coach Larry Brown was critical of the organization for its handling of Mike Woodson. He also questioned GM Steve Mills’ basketball knowledge.

Carmelo Anthony says the Knicks will “hope and pray” that the Hawks lose enough games to give New York a chance to make the postseason.

What’s next: The Knicks will have a few days off before playing in Toronto on Friday.

Question: Do you believe Iman Shumpert can thrive with the Knicks under Phil Jackson’s guidance?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Knicks get Shump Bump

April, 3, 2014
Apr 3
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NEW YORK -- There were plenty of heroes for the Knicks on Wednesday night.

You had J.R. Smith, who poured in a team-high 24 points and handed out six assists. And there was Carmelo Anthony, who put up his 22nd double-double of the year. And Tim Hardaway Jr., who poured in 17 points on a gimpy ankle.

[+] EnlargeIman Shumpert
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty ImagesIman Shumpert had a big first half against Brooklyn.
The usual cast of characters.

But another, unlikely name emerged against Brooklyn: Iman Shumpert.

“I thought Iman set the tone for us tonight,” Mike Woodson said.

Shumpert had handful of steals in the first half that to transition layups and dunks that helped propel the Knicks to a pivotal win over Brooklyn.

“When he plays like that, he’s tough,” Tyson Chandler said. “... He’s just so solid. He wasn’t reaching, he wasn’t gambling. He was just forcing the offensive player into tough positions.”

Shumpert has been one of the Knicks' biggest enigmas this season. Entering the year, most expected him to take the proverbial “next step” -- to progress into a consistent scorer and top-flight defender in his third year in the league.

Instead, Shumpert has struggled to find consistency on offense.

Maybe some of it can be traced to the offseason.

He had knee surgery in the summer, came into camp at less than 100 percent health and was engulfed in trade rumors up until the Feb. 20 deadline. His play seemed to be impacted by trade talk.

Entering play Wednesday, Shumpert was averaging 6.5 points per game on 37.5 percent shooting this season. Since being replaced in the starting lineup by J.R. Smith, Shumpert averaged 5.3 points per game on 38 percent shooting.

Fans and members of the organization were baffled by the poor production.

But Shumpert’s full potential was on display in the first half against Brooklyn.

He had three steals that led directly to layups and dunks in transition. His active hands bothered the Nets' ball handlers, helping force Brooklyn into nine first-half turnovers. Shumpert finished the game with 10 points, five steals, two assists and three rebounds.

“He and Tyson are our best defenders,” Raymond Felton said. “He always accepts the challenge -- from anyone.”

On Wednesday it was Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. The Knicks, though, could use this kind of effort from Shumpert the rest of the way as they try to maintain position in the playoff race in the East.

Wednesday’s win left the Knicks percentage points ahead of Atlanta in eighth place in the conference with six games to play.

Afterward, Anthony noted that the Knicks played with an energy that hasn’t always been present this season.

“Sometimes we’ve been real inconsistent; tonight was a total opposite,” Anthony said.

And it started with Iman Shumpert.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Can Shump fill the void for Hardaway Jr.?

April, 1, 2014
Apr 1
7:36
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The Knicks’ playoff chances don’t hinge on the health of Tim Hardaway Jr.’s ankle.

But if Hardaway Jr. is out -- or if he is less than 100 percent healthy due to a sprained right ankle -- then it’s fair to say that they'll take a hit.

[+] EnlargeIman Shumpert
Rocky Widner/Getty ImagesIman Shumpert may be asked to fill in for Tim Hardaway Jr.
The rookie guard sprained his ankle late in the Knicks' win over the Jazz on Monday.

He underwent X-Rays after the game. The tests came back negative, according to the team.

His status for Wednesday's game against the Brooklyn Nets is uncertain.

If he has to sit out of the showdown with Brooklyn, the complexion of the Knicks’ bench scoring changes significantly.

Hardaway Jr.'s been the focal point of the second-unit offense since Mike Woodson inserted J.R. Smith and Amar'e Stoudemire into the starting lineup in mid-March.

New York is 11-4 since the lineup change, and Hardaway Jr. has averaged 10.9 points per game on 41 percent shooting (not great) over 24.7 minutes per game in that stretch.

Shooting percentage aside, Hardaway’s play has been one of several driving forces behind the Knicks’ playoff push.

New York will take the court Wednesday one game behind Atlanta for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Knicks face tough odds the rest of the way.

Atlanta has nine games left. Four of the nine are against teams with records over .500. Three of the Hawks' opponents (Milwaukee, Boston, Detroit) are a combined 94 games under .500.

The Knicks have seven games to play. All seven are against teams over .500.

New York also trails the Hawks by two games in the loss column. Atlanta holds the tiebreaker by virtue of the team's record against Eastern Conference opponents.

So the Knicks desperately need to win Wednesday's game against Brooklyn, a task that becomes much more difficult if Hardaway Jr. is out.

If Hardaway sits, the Knicks' coaching staff will have to find a way to fill the scoring void in the second unit.

Maybe Mike Woodson can stagger the minutes of Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith so that Smith plays a significant amount of time with the bench players?

The problem there is that Anthony and Smith have been playing well together of late.

The next candidate to fill the void is Iman Shumpert.

Shumpert has shown in brief stretches that he can provide a scoring punch. He averaged 20.8 points on 68.8 percent shooting over a three-game stretch in early January.

But the third-year guard has been wildly inconsistent on offense this season.

Shumpert's per-game scoring (6.5 points) and shooting percentage (37.5 percent) have regressed this year.

Since he was replaced in the starting lineup by Smith, Shumpert's averaged 5.3 points per game on 38 percent shooting.

More minutes for Shumpert may help the Knicks on defense, though.

The Knicks are outscoring teams by 2.5 points per 48 minutes when Shumpert's on the court. When he's off the floor, the Knicks are being outscored 5.3 points per 48 minutes.

For comparison's sake, the Knicks are being outscored by 4.4 points per 48 minutes when Hardaway's on the floor.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Iman Shumpert calls season 'frustrating'

February, 23, 2014
Feb 23
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This has been the most "frustrating" season of Iman Shumpert's young career.

The third-year forward said as much on Saturday when he tweeted that this season has been "more frustrating" than his eight-month rehabilitation from a torn ACL.



Shumpert, a former first-round pick, has dealt with plenty this season.

He's name had been mentioned in trade rumors for much of the year. The New York Knicks were close to executing a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers that would have sent Shumpert to L.A. but Doc Rivers & Co. pulled away minutes before the trade deadline.

Shumpert also suffered an MCL sprain last week that will sideline him for at least two weeks. The injury occurred on the same knee that was surgically-repaired in May 2012 due to an ACL tear.

Last, Shumpert has struggled to score with much consistency this season. He's averaging 6.9 points and shooting 37.7 percent from the field. Four times this season, he's played at least 20 minutes in a game and failed to score a point.

Woody says NYK misses vets: There are plenty of factors behind the Knicks' disaster of a season. One, according to Mike Woodson, is a lack of veteran leadership in the locker room.

Woodson said on Friday that the Knicks miss players like Jason Kidd, Marcus Camby, Rasheed Wallace and Kurt Thomas because of what they brought to a team off the court.

"You miss the veterans, there's no doubt about that," Woodson said in an interview on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco Show." "When you're taking about Rasheed and Kidd and Camby and Kurt Thomas; those are four guys that have been in the league that could tell somebody to shut up if things weren't right. They were just veteran guys and you miss that in the locker room, you miss it on the floor. But again, they're not here and we've got to throw last year out the door."

The Knicks traded Camby to Toronto over the summer in the Andrea Bargnani deal after his relatively ineffective year in New York. Kidd retired and joined the Nets as head coach. Thomas was not re-signed last summer after being waived late in the regular season following a foot injury. Wallace retired and took a job as an assistant coach with the Pistons.

Sources: Knicks talking Udrih for Hamilton

February, 19, 2014
Feb 19
8:00
PM ET
The New York Knicks and Denver Nuggets continue to discuss a deal centered on Iman Shumpert for Kenneth Faried, according to league sources.

But as those talks drag on, the Knicks are also talking to Denver about a deal involving Jordan Hamilton for Beno Udrih as they focus moving Shumpert to the Clippers in a deal for Darren Collison, sources told ESPNNewYork and ESPN.com's Marc Stein.

Udrih has expressed frustration over the public criticism of his play earlier this season and, according to sources, he requested a trade.

Bringing Hamilton, a 6-foot-7 small forward, to New York wouldn’t impact the Knicks' cap space in 2015. Hamilton’s contract expires after this season.

Sources tell Stein that the Wizards remain interested in Udrih as well. Sources tell Stein that the Wizards still hold out hope that they can convince the Knicks to send Udrih to Washington D.C. instead of Denver.

The Knicks, sources say, are hesitant to bring in a player who is on the books beyond the 2014-15 season, because their hope is to have enough cap space available for the 2015 offseason to go after the top players on the market. Rajon Rondo, Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge are expected to headline a group of free agents that summer.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

W2W4: Knicks at Grizzlies

February, 18, 2014
Feb 18
5:18
PM ET
Here are a few things to keep an eye on during tonight’s Knicks-Grizzlies game:

Welcome back: The Knicks have 30 games left to get into one of the eight playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. They'll take the court Tuesday 2 1/2 games behind the Charlotte Bobcats for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.

If the Knicks want to get in, they’ll have to play much better than what they showed before the break.

New York (20-32) entered the All-Star break losers of five of six, including an embarrassing home loss last Wednesday to Sacramento.

The Grizzlies, on the other hand, are 14-4 over the last 18 games and have won seven of nine at home. They've held opponents to 88.9 points and 42.5 percent from the field during that 18-game stretch, according to STATS, LCC.

Also, it should be noted that the Grizz are 16-6 since January 1. That’s tied for the third-best record in the NBA.

Melo man: Carmelo Anthony is coming off a record-setting performance in the All-Star game. Will his hot hand carry over to the Memphis game?

Anthony set an All-Star game record with eight made 3-pointers in the East’s win over the West.

The Knicks hope that hot shooting can carry over to fourth quarters.

Anthony has scored just five points (1-for-11 FG) in the fourth quarter and overtime of the last four games.

Trade winds: Iman Shumpert's and Raymond Felton's names have been dangled out in trade talks in recent days. It’s worth keeping an eye on how both players look tonight. Will the trade talk affect them? If they play well, will it make a competing team more apt to deal for them?

In his last ten games, Felton’s averaging nine points on 46 percent shooting and 6.8 assists. Shumpert is averaging 6.7 points on 35 percent shooting over the same span.

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

Opening Tip: Do the Knicks need Faried?

February, 12, 2014
Feb 12
6:00
AM ET
So, once again, the New York Knicks are interested in executing an Iman Shumpert-for-Kenneth Faried swap.

ESPN's Marc Stein has the details here. The immediate question that comes to mind: Does this make sense for New York?

In the short term, it doesn't seem like Faried would be the best fit for this team. But in the long term, getting an asset like Faried for Shumpert, who has struggled to score consistently this season, would be a good get for New York.

Let's take a quick look some of the pros and cons here:

Pros:

1. The Knicks could add depth at power forward immediately, which would be beneficial given that Kenyon Martin and Andrea Bargnani are sidelined due to injury. It is unclear when Martin (ankle) or Bargnani (elbow) will return.

2. New York would get a young, cheap player in Faried, who may or may not fit their system but can be used as a future trade chip.

3. If they acquired Faried for Shumpert, the Knicks can get a player of high value in exchange for a player whose trade value is probably lower than it was coming into the season due to his inconsistent scoring.

4. The Knicks have a power forward they can pencil into their future rotation when/if Andrea Bargnani and Amar'e Stoudemire are off the roster in 2015-16.

Cons:

1. Faried's rebounding and scoring per 36 minutes are down slightly this season, which is not the way you'd like to see them trending for a player in his third season. His win shares -- an estimate of the number of wins a player contributes to per season -- has also decreased each season.

2. It seems as though the Knicks, as currently constituted, would benefit more from trading for backcourt help than frontcourt help. Their point guards and shooting guards are getting outscored by a combined 16.5 points per 48 minutes, according to 82games.com. They have plenty of bodies in the frontcourt.

Worth noting: A deal for Faried doesn't necessarily mean the Knicks can't deal for a point guard, but it takes away one of their most valuable assets.

3. Faried has played nearly all of his minutes at power forward. So how would his arrival affect playing time for Jeremy Tyler or Amar'e Stoudemire? And what about Martin and Bargnani (when both are healthy)?

4. It's hard to pinpoint just why Iman Shumpert has struggled to produce consistently on offense. But his athleticism, ability to defend on the ball and lateral quickness are rare qualities. If he realizes his full potential in another city, will the Knicks regret dealing him away?

Up Now: Carmelo Anthony says the Knicks "have to win" Wednesday's game against Sacramento.

J.R. Smith (cheek) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (leg) are both expected to play against the Kings.

His job status is in question, but Mike Woodson expects to play a role in the Knicks' decision-making process leading up to the trade deadline.

What's next: The Knicks take on the Sacramento Kings at home on Wednesday in the final game before the All-Star break.

Question: Do you think the Knicks need Kenneth Faried? Would you pull the trigger on a Faried-for-Shumpert swap?

You can follow Ian Begley on Twitter.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Carmelo Anthony
PTS AST STL MIN
23.4 3.3 0.8 36.3
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsA. Stoude... 7.4
AssistsJ. Calderon 3.9
StealsP. Prigioni 1.3
BlocksS. Dalembert 1.3