Iman Shumpert On The New Crew, Melo's Return, & Changes To His Game

by Jonah Ballow

On Tuesday evening in Ardsley, New York, Iman Shumpert was found joking, teaching, and hooping it up with youngsters at his basketball camp.  The boisterous third-year pro from Chicago is back in the Big Apple where the Knicks will soon begin training camp in preparation for the highly anticipated season.  While at his camp, Shumpert shared some thoughts on the new members of the team, Carmelo Anthony’s return, the changes in the East, and his evolving game.

Shumpert recently spent time at the Knicks training facility working out with last year’s first round pick Tim Hardaway Jr. and this year’s second round selection Cleanthony Early.  The three guards/forwards are similar in body type and share versatile traits, which should be advantageous for the Knicks this upcoming season.

“Those guys are all energy guys, high energy guys like me,” Shumpert smiled.  “All of them definitely have their skills and attributes they bring to the game but the most exciting about all of them is they like to run and I fit in there, so I’m going to love run beside them.”

Of course the operative word used there is “run.”  Despite suiting up in 74 games this past season, Shumpert is still working his way back from a major knee injury in 2012 and a sprained left MCL last February.  He finished strong in April by averaging 28.9 minutes per game while posting 8.4 points and five boards an outing.  Over the summer, Shumpert focused on re-gaining trust in his ability to launch off his surgically repaired left leg with confidence.

“I know with this year, this offense, I have a lot more opportunities to cut and get to the basket, so I just want to work on the strength of my leg,” Shumpert confirmed.

He added, “Too many times I’m thinking about doing different moves instead of just picking a move, going to it and having a counter if they stop it.”

Considered a defensive ace, Shumpert can lock down positions 1-3 on the floor and has displayed long-range efficiency on the offensive side of the court.  Shumpert believes his skillset will fit perfectly in the famous Triangle Offense that Derek Fisher will install this season. 

“You can really start three guards,” he stated.  “It really doesn’t matter.  Everybody is going to get touches, everybody gets opportunities to cut, it keeps constant action going on, so I think that I will be able to capitalize off that and I will be able to use my athleticism a lot more than standing in the corner. “

Another player that should thrive in the Triangle Offense is Anthony.  The seven-time All-Stark inked a long-term deal with the Knicks in July and Shumpert says the team will benefit on and off the floor.

 “I think it will be great for the city,” he acknowledged.  “I think it helps our confidence a lot in the locker room.  Just to have him back, have him around, the double teams he brings, the advantages he brings when drawing up the scheme for the other team, it’s great.  I think everybody is excited to have him back.”

Anthony is back in the fold to help the Knicks find the winning formula that was evident in the 54-win season in 2012-13.  Last year, New York struggled to a 37-45 mark but a new coach, new offensive and defensive schemes, and a mix of veterans and youth should elevate the squad into playoff contention once again.

“I think it’s going to help us this year a lot for what we had to go through last year and I think it will give everybody that chip on their shoulder.  I think everybody has been working hard this summer and for whatever reason we didn’t last year as far as playing bad or having a bad season, we learned from it and everybody gets a breath of fresh air and now we go into this season and I think it will help us,” Shumpert admitted.

The Citi Iman Shumpert Basketball ProCamp took place at the House of Sports where the Knicks guard/forward led a camp of 100 boys and girls in grades 1-12.