New York Knicks third-year guard Iman Shumpert has had a roller coaster season filled with trade speculations and struggles.
But while it has been long speculated that his own head coach hasn’t been in his corner it looks as if Shumpert has someone more important watching his back.
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 held 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 Phil Jackson moving forward.
“He’s a big part of what we do,’’ Mike 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 and Jackson in particular don’t have any valuable trade assets to attempt to improve the team for next season which means Shumpert, who was nearly dealt at the trade deadline, could be moved to help improve the team in other areas.
However, while Shumpert has struggled this season in part due to his lack of a defined role. Jackson obviously believes in Shump’s ability, so he’ll almost certainly be back next season playing for a new head coach which should help matters out some.