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Season in Review: Iman Shumpert

by Charlie Widdoes

Statistically Speaking: Played in 74 games (58 starts), averaging 6.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.

Year in Review: After going through his first full training camp as a pro, Iman Shumpert entered his third season poised to break out. His athleticism and positional versatility would give Mike Woodson options, the thinking went, but as the year began to unfold, the team struggled to find a groove and Shump found himself searching for his role in a crowded wing rotation. 

He found ways to contribute -- notably on the boards, where he tied for third among shooting guards in rebound rate (9.2) -- but wasn't quite able to become the scorer that some had hoped in his third NBA season. He did, however, establish a connection with the young bench unit once Woodson settled on a starting J.R. Smith alongside Carmelo Anthony on the wing. Many of the Knicks' most successful three-man units involved Shumpert with some combination of Toure' Murry and Tim Hardaway Jr.; the three injected energy into the team by playing the passing lanes and generating transition opportunities.

Season Highlight: As the calendar turned to 2014, Shumpert emphatically snapped out of a slump with eye-opening performances in consecutive nights. Against San Antonio and Houston on January 2nd and 3rd, he exploded for 53 points on 19-for-27 shooting, including 12-of-14 from 3-point range. Almost singlehandedly, he managed to turn a daunting three-game road trip through Texas into a momentum-building turning point for the Knicks.

Looking Ahead: Young players rarely follow a straight line in their development. For most, especially those with Shumpert's potential, there are ups and downs. In his third season, Shumpert once again demonstrated what he can provide -- notably defensive intensity, athleticism in the open court and shooting -- but going forward, he'll continue to work on harnessing his tremendous talents and becoming more consistent. 

A quick glance at his shot chart from this season gives an indication of how he can become a more efficient offensive player:

Iman Shumpert
Credit: 

basketball-reference.com

As he's shown for the better part of three seasons, Shumpert can be a deadly shooter in the right circumstances. He's best in catch-and-shoot situations, as opposed to off-the-dribble, and particularly from the corners -- even as his overall 3-point shooting numbers suffered this year, he maintained a 38.6 percent mark from the corners.

He'll continue to work on his playmaking skills, but he's already a dangerous weapon when he plays to his strengths. Awareness will be key as he enters his fourth NBA season; he'll have a new coaching staff and presumably be asked to master different philosophies on both ends of the floor, but his talents would fit into any system.