Iman Shumpert is not going to be around much longer.
If the New York Knicks don’t change their method of dealing with the young guard, he’s going to bolt as soon as his contract is up in 2015 as long as he doesn’t force a trade before then.
Shumpert has been mistreated since the moment he was drafted to a resounding cry of boos from Knicks fans. Since then, he’s had to deal with never-ending trade rumors, unfair treatment from coach Mike Woodson and an onslaught of criticism that’s going to drive him out of New York.
I understand the boos because no one knew he was, so let’s start with the trade rumors.
According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, Knicks owner James Dolan wanted to trade his team’s starting 2-guard due to the fact that he didn’t workout with N.Y.’s summer league team. Simply ridiculous.
There were rumors of sending Shump away for Jared Dudley, and the latest is a deal that would get the teeny tiny Knicks, who are playing without Tyson Chandler, Kenneth Faried—a player they passed on in the draft to get Shumpert.
But unless it’s for Rajon Rondo, or a superstar of his caliber, New York must hold on to Shump at all costs.
Despite all of the nonsense he’s constantly dealing with, Shumpert has managed to put up about 10 points and five boards a game while shooting nearly 45 percent from the field in 2013-14.
But that’s not good enough in the eyes of Woodson, who has very rarely given the youngster public praise. And with the return of J.R. Smith, Woody is even considering throwing last season’s Sixth Man of the Year into the starting unit to shake things up.
There’s an idea—sub out your best young player for a guy coming off knee surgery and five-game suspension for substance abuse.
When Smith is feeling it, he’s as good as anyone in the league. But he’s at his best coming off the bench, and the starting backcourt consisting mostly of Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni and Shumpert ended up giving New York its best record in over 15 years last season.
Starting Smith over Shumpert would be absolutely insane, and one of the worst things that Woodson can do at this point in the young season. Just because the team got off to a slower start than 2012-13’s surge of 18 wins in 24 games doesn’t mean that anything drastic has to be done here.
It’s getting to the point that it looks as though New York is doing everything it can to push Shumpert away, when in reality they should be preparing him for stardom over the course of the next few seasons.
And sooner or later, he’s going to get fed up with it—leaving the Knicks to watch a player that they drafted emerge as a star for another ballclub.