Phil Jackson, at his introductory press conference, said he’d determine which current New York Knicks fit – and can fit – his vision for the team.
Carmelo Anthony does, or at least can. Jackson said that very clearly.
How many other Knicks has Jackson reached a verdict on? At least one, reportedly.
Now Shumpert appears to have a legitimate future with Phil Jackson’s Knicks. According to a league source, Jackson is a fan of Shumpert.
Shumpert is a defensive-minded player who sacrifices his game and doesn’t need to score a lot to have an impact.
“Iman is still part of this,’’ a league source familiar with the Knicks’ thinking told The Post.
Shumpert is 23, an impressive athlete, a versatile defender and an intriguing offensive player. It shouldn’t have taken paying Jackson $12 million per year for Shumpert to play a prominent role in the Knicks’ future, but here we are.
Now, the question become what Shumpert does with this opportunity. He regressed a little this year, and next season will be his final year of his rookie deal. Even if Jackson likes him now, how much will he be willing to pay Shumpert on his next contract?
If Shumpert learns the nuances of the triangle offense and taps his defensive potential, it could be quite a bit. But those are still ifs – even if Shumpert is excited by Jackson. Via Berman:
“I love Phil Jackson,’’ Shumpert said. “Just being a child, seeing him, how he conducted the Bulls. I just love him.’’
Like Jackson with the Knicks, the feeling is mutual. For now.
Really, it matters only how Jackson evaluates Shumpert once he’s worked closely with him. I don’t expect the new Knicks president’s perception to change with Shumpert – at least until Shumpert’s impending raise nears.