Thursday, August 28, 2014


Recently, New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert expressed his optimism about the triangle offense which will become the Knicks new offensive system in the upcoming season. Recent hires, president of basketball operations Phil Jackson (it feels so weird, yet so cool at the same time to say that) and coach Derek Fisher are expected to employ the tenets of the triangle offense to a Knicks team that ran an isolation-heavy offense last year, and Shumpert expects to provide a different measure of production this year. Shumpert believes that he, as well as other members of the Knicks roster, will be able to contribute a bit more, and showcase the skills that one cannot show when he is asked to be one-dimensional and rather predictable. And he's right. The triangle should allow him to put the ball on the floor more, cut and drive, and more importantly move without the basketball into positions that should allow him to be put into more effective spots on the basketball court, as opposed to the singular approach to the game he was required to execute as he watched Carmelo Anthony or J.R. Smith dribble the clock down before deciding to shoot or pass to "the corner"for the conventional baseline three. 

Not that he was not adept at the shot (which he was), but Shumpert can provide so much more. A solid to spectacular on-ball defender, he has showed flashes of brilliance on the offensive end from time to time since he was drafted unceremoniously by the great Donnie Walsh, the general manager at the time for the Knicks, who has always had an eye for talent. He has come up big before in games that matter. Game 6 of the 2013 playoffs comes to mind. Although the Knicks would lose an elimination game to a much more determined Indiana Pacers squad, Shumpert would provide the only shot-making help for Anthony on that night, scoring 19 points, hitting 5 threes on the night during critical junctures in the game. As mentioned, even though the Knicks lost he showed glimpses of the player that he can become when given the opportunity and the confidence. The recently departed Mike Woodson,as good a coach as he could be for the Knicks last season, actually may have undermined Shumpert in both departments allowing for his lack of opportunity by running the offense that he did, and by his constant line-up juggling, due to injury at times, but mainly because he may or may not have trusted Shumpert completely (which ultimately led to Shumpert's lack of confidence in his role on the team). Granted Shumpert is now two years removed from an ACL injury which usually requires two years before a player mentally can trust the newly sound joints, so some of the responsibility may not rest squarely a Woodson's feet.

All of this said, can Iman Shumpert actually (and finally) have the breakout year that Knicks fans have expected of him since it became apparent that not only is a great defender, but a dynamic athlete,with a propensity for tough shot-taking and tough shot-making as well? Could the triangle offense, combined with the new-found confidence in his body and his role under the stewardship of coach Derek Fisher (who I might add himself was a great on-ball defender and clutch shooter) lead to a stellar campaign for Shumpert and the Knicks? There is only one way to find out, as this upcoming season holds all the answers.