The Knicks have struggled a bit as of late, and have had seemingly nothing but bad news on the injury front.
Mike Woodson changed all that after the team practiced on Saturday when he told reporters that Iman Shumpert has been cleared by doctors, and could make his season debut later this week.
From Jared Zwerling of ESPNNewYork.com:
“He’s been cleared,” coach Mike Woodson said after Saturday’s practice at the team’s training facility. “He’ll practice on Monday and if we get the two practices in — for sure one in London and there’s no setback — he’ll be cleared probably to play in the Detroit game.”
The Knicks will be in London to play the Pistons on Thursday, and need to begin to get healthy to return to the level of contender the team was playing at over the first couple of months of the season.
Shumpert tore knee ligaments during the playoffs last April, but before then worked his way into the starting lineup for 35 games while averaging 9.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.7 steals per game in almost 29 minutes of action.
Shumpert made a name for himself last season as a tough and capable perimeter defender, and once he works his way back from a conditioning standpoint he should be able to give the Knicks a much-needed boost in that area.
It looks like that help will be on the way as early as this week.
The Pistons will start Reggie Jackson at point guard, and they signed Ish Smith to provide better backup at the position.
The competition for the third point guard spot is heating up.
With Lorenzo Brown and Ray McCallum already signed to unguaranteed deals, Detroit is adding undrafted Old Dominion guard Trey Freeman.
Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops:
The Pistons have just 14 players – one shy of the regular-season roster limit – with guaranteed salaries. The final spot will very likely go to a point guard.
Brown and McCallum should be favored in the competition, because they’re more NBA-ready. A president/coach, Stan Van Gundy is more prone to covet the player who can step in immediately.
Freeman’s partial guarantee is likely designed to entice him to play in the D-League for a low base salary. The Pistons can waive him in the preseason and then assign his D-League rights to their affiliate, though he’d become an NBA free agent.
Freeman is working to become a better distributor after playing as a go-to scorer in college. A solid mid-range shooter, he must extend his range beyond the arc. It’d also help if he got to the rim more, and it seems he has the bounce to do that.
For an undrafted player, he has nice tools. They’ll probably just need to be refined in the D-League.
But even if that’s the intention, Freeman at least gives himself a chance first of upsetting Brown and McCallum in the race for third point guard.
With 32 wins and missing the playoffs, last season wasn’t exactly what the Knicks hoped for. However, last season also came with hope in the form of Kristaps Porzingis.
And there were highlights. Check out the team’s Top 10 plays, courtesy NBA.com.
It starts with some Derrick Williams moments, and ends with a Jose Calderon game winner, but there are moments from players the fans actually like in between.
At this point, there is zero chance Russell Westbrook‘s posts are a coincidence.
First. he posted a video of himself singing along to Lil Uzi Vert’s “Now I Do What I Want.”
Then came the shoe ad that was another little jab at now Warriors Kevin Durant.
Now comes Westbrook’s return to karaoke posts, this time singing Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Getting Back Together” and Katy Perry’s “Wide Awake.”
Apparently, Westbrook and Durant are having one rough teenage breakup.
One of the great stories of last season was the return of Paul George to All-Star level form (then to watch him be crucial to the USA winning gold this summer).
It was a great story because vintage Paul George was so great. Watch this throwback video of him blowing by LeBron James and dunking over Chris Andersen from a few years back — this is vicious.
By the way, if you’re not following NBA history on Twitter and Instagram, you’re doing it wrong.