With the NBA Trade Deadline just a few hours away and the New York Knicks desperate to make a trade, why did they play Iman Shumpert Wednesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans?
Once again,the management and medical staff showed its total incompetence.
Remember, Shumpert had ACL surgery almost the same time as the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose. The same Rose that sat out all last year and went down again with additional knee problems this year. Renowned Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. James Andrews once explained to me how some athletes were more predisposed to joint and ligamentous injuries. Shumpert may be one of these athletes. It was Shumpert who had another unspecified procedure this summer on his knee. He also has had periodic shoulder problems, this is not a good sign and coordinates with Dr. Andrews theory.
Shumpert to his credit returned quickly, maybe too quickly. He has never shown the hops he had his rookie season prior to surgery. His lack of prior jumping ability, has affected his ability to finish plays to the basket this season. His offensive demeanor, intensity is not the same this year, which has been very apparent. Prior to surgery he always went hard to the basket and dunked, visa vie Hardaway, on drives to the basket. Now, he try’s to scoop the ball up.
With his trade value still somewhat intact and a deal almost imminent, why did New York play him last night?
If a trade was imminent , playing Shumpert last night was incompetent.
Let’s face the facts, this is an injury riddled team. Almost every player has missed time this year, each night another player goes down with an injury. The Knicks strength and offseason program needs to be reevaluated and possibly overhauled this offseason. This season it appeared many players came to camp out of shape. This is not acceptable for a team with championship aspirations.
Secondly, there was no level of consistency with the handling of these injuries. J.R.Smith and Shumpert, had no minute restrictions and were rushed into the starting lineup following knee surgery, while others were put on minute restrictions. Too many Knicks were injured this season. Raymond Felton reported to camp out of shape, he was injured and returned to play mediocre basketball.
Felton for all his weaknesses is durable and will make a good backup point guard. Shorter, slower players do not excel in Woodson’s system. His offensive schemes are more geared for the player that can get his own shot. Under Mike D’Antoni, Felton averaged 16 a game. He is an unselfish player, who needs a system more geared to his game. He would make an excellent back up to Chris Paul for the Clippers and would improve under Doc Rivers. The trade made sense as Collison is a pending free agent.
With that said, management again mismanaged. Shumpert although erratic, plays hard and plays defense. Playing defense is much harder on the knees, as the knees take more abuse with constant lateral movement, thus the MCL sprain. With Hardaway playing better basketball than any other rookie currently in the NBA, Woodson just needs to start him and let him play his game. Coach may not like rookies, but if he likes his job, play Hardaway and keep Smith as your sixth man. Smith is not a starter, while Hardaway has excelled when he has started.
With Shumpert now out for a while and the chance for a trade probably out of the question, give Hardaway the props he deserves. Start him, maybe he can be the season changer. Glen Grunwald, may be out a job, but drafting Hardaway was the steal of the draft.
Dr. Eric Kaplan is a Bestselling author www.5minutemotivator.com
Follow him on twitter @drekaplan