Iman Shumpert has regressed a bit this season with the Knicks, struggling to stay healthy as a productive member of the lineup while taking plenty of criticism from head coach Mike Woodson in the early part of the season at the same time.
Shumpert returned to the New York lineup in the team’s embarrassing loss in Los Angeles on Tuesday, after missing the team’s previous crushing defeat against the Cavs due to illness.
He was scoreless in L.A in 19 minutes., but that didn’t do anything to change the opinion of the Knicks’ new president of basketball operations moving forward.
“He’s a big part of what we do,’’ Woodson said before the game. “What he brings to the table from a defensive standpoint. We could’ve used him the other night for sure.”
Though Shumpert still is not nailing his jumper consistently, he had been thriving in his new role off the bench with J.R. Smith now starting. The Post reported last month Shumpert didn’t savor his role as small forward in the smallball starting lineup.
According to a source, Knicks president Phil Jackson likes Shumpert because he’s defensive-minded and selfless.
The Knicks have some pieces, but it’s going to take a vision from the front office and a head coach who is on that same page to be able to put it all together.
Shumpert has struggled this season in part due to his lack of a defined role. Jackson obviously believes in Shumpert’s ability, so he’ll almost certainly be back next season — when Jackson has asserted his influence, almost assuredly while playing for a new head coach.