Iman Shumpert is close to returning to the New York Knicks.
He tweeted that the doctors have cleared him for full contact practices, which is the last step to getting back on the court for games. He worked out for team doctors and officials before Monday night’s game against the Celtics and apparently that went well. Go through a couple full practices and if his knee is fine he is back.
Which is good news for the Knicks. Even though nobody should expect him to come back playing exactly like he did before his injury, his presence on the perimeter should help the Knicks defense. And that is the area they need help — they are 18th in the NBA in points allowed per possession (via Hoopdata). They are winning regular season games because their offense is so good, but in the playoffs they will not last long without better, more consistent defense. They can do it, they gave up 5 fewer points per 100 possessions last season. They have Tyson Chandler in the paint to anchor that defense.
Shumpert back on the court will help with that.
I like the Knicks’ offseason moves. Well, not blowing the meeting with LaMarcus Aldridge before it ever started — you say the right things and take him to a nice dinner because that is the kind of elite player you need to try to land. Take the meeting.
However, bringing in Robin Lopez and Arron Afflalo were smart pickups, and I like the Kristaps Porzingis draft pick more than many (although we need a couple of years to see how good he will really be). Combine that with a healthy Carmelo Anthony and…
The Knicks suck less. They aren’t good, but they aren’t embarrassing. And that is step one, as I discuss with Jenna Corrado in this latest PBT Extra.
So far, the only substantive accounts of the Matt Barnes-Derek Fisher altercation have come from anonymous sources.
The Knicks coach has deflected questions.
But Barnes is giving his account, at least of the lead-up.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
It’s completely understandable that Barnes would act to ensure his children’s welfare.
And let’s say everything he said is true. It still leaves important questions unanswered.
Did Barnes – as he reportedly texted a friend he did – beat up Fisher and spit on his estranged wife, Gloria Govan? If so, why did Barnes deem that necessary to protect kids?