Shump Change

Written by: Brian Body (@BrianChuckteezy)

As the great prophet and philosopher Jay-Z once said, “it was all good just 5
months ago!” Back in July, all Knicks fans, including myself, were looking forward to
the day that Iman Shumpert 21 jersey was up in the rafters next to Ewing, Walt
Clyde, Earl the Pearl, Willis, Barnett, McGuire, the Senator, and Melo Anthony (of
course.)

Ok, maybe that was a little bit of an exaggeration. But still. Shump was a
glimmer of hope on a team full of geezers that had just vastly underachieved after
losing to the Pacers in the second round of the playoffs. The swagger, the flat top,
the tweets after every win that the opposing team had just been “taped,” the
backpack, that crazy sick putback dunk against the Pacers, the lockdown defense,
and the clothes! Knicks fans loved this guy. And it was hard not to. He was the
second coming of Walt Clyde Frazier, and he and Melo were supposed to keep the
Knicks contenders for the foreseeable future.

And then on July 7 everything changed. Stephen A. Smith had just
interviewed the most hated man in America, Dwight “I’m a Douche” Howard, and in
between takes, while the camera was still rolling, Stephen A. let it slip that James
Dolan wanted to trade Shumpert because Shump didn’t want to work out in the
Vegas Summer League. Whaaaaaaat?! Why would Dolan want to trade the one asset
he had? Oh wait. This is James Dolan we’re talking about. The man that made Chris
Smith the D-League’s first $2 million player and the man that gave a washed up
Allan Houston $100 million.

Moving on.

Coming into his third year in the league, at the prime age of 23, this was
supposed to be Shump’ s breakout year, regardless of the secret knee scope he had
over the summer. He kept tweeting and talking over the summer how he was going
to start making himself a bigger part of the Knicks offense. He even set the bar for
his scoring average at 18 points per game. But nobody, and I mean NOBODY could
have guessed that he’d become Landry Fields 2.0.

Coming into Monday’s game against the Magic, Shump is averaging an
anemic 6.2 points per game, shooting a minuscule 35% from the field and 31% from
behind the arc on 71 attempts. Yikes. However, if you’ve been watching the games,
you’ll know that Shump’s impact, or should I say lack of impact, goes way beyond
those statistics. He has become a complete nonfactor on offense, often passing up
wide open looks to make unnecessary extra passes to a covered teammate who is
then forced to chuck up a contested jump shot. He spends the majority of time
standing still on the perimeter instead of constant movement to get himself open or
penetrating to the basket. In fact, earlier this month, Shump became the only player
in NBA history to play 30 minutes without a single point, rebound, or assist.
On the defensive end, Shump’s numbers look decent but don’t let them fool
you. He’s often too aggressive on that end of the court, always looking for the steal,
which leads to his man getting in front of him and the four other Knicks unsure of
where to rotate.

To summarize, Shump just hasn’t lived up to expectations this year. Whether
the trade rumors are getting to him, or it’s the supposed beef with Woody (I still
don’t understand that one…) he is a shell of his former self. I think it’s time we start
re-evaluating our expectations on his future with the Knicks. Now that could just be
the cynical Knicks fan in me talking. He could easily break out of his slump and go on
a tear these next few months. Or he could continue to look like he’s giving zero
effort and continue to piss Knicks fans off. But if I’m James Dolan and StCAAeve
Mills, I’d make a decision FAST before his value plummets even further. Just saying…

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