Shumpert Gives Fans a Reason to Cheer?
In his first time stepping in front of the MSG home crowd as a starter, Iman Shumpert — “Shump” or “Shump-Shump” as he’s now referred to thanks to one wonderfully placed MSG mic in a preseason practice session — proved his ability to step into (one of) the void(s) that years of roster-razing has created in order to construct the New York Knicks’ star-studded trio of Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler. After a rocky start that saw him tank two of New York’s first three possessions (first by sailing a cross-court pass well over Landry Fields’ pointy coif and into the stands, then clanking a long-2 on the next), Shumpert quickly rebounded, helping to start and finish alley-oops in the Knicks’ first-half lob-fest, slashing through the lane and creating transition opportunities, and using the long-reach grabbers attached to his shoulders to get his hands in the passing lanes and bother ballhandlers.
Shumpert’s first major Madison Square Garden moment certainly won’t linger in the stadium as some magic feat of basketball brilliance. But with 16 points (on 7-for-13 shooting), six rebounds, four assists and three steals in 35 minutes of the Knicks’ 91-87 squeaker against the Bobcats, Shump, a player fueled by tamed cockiness, showed that he could at least be a valuable contributor. Which, given the recent history of New York basketball, might as well be a miracle.