City Sports Report

Iman Shumpert & Tim Hardaway Jr.: Knicks Backcourt Of The Future?

Could Shumpert and Hardaway Jr. Comprise Knicks Starting Backcourt?

All of last season, there have been two players on the New York Knicks who were often mentioned in trade rumors. One name was Knicks guard Iman Shumpert. He was definitely high in demand after his first year and into his second year as well, but with his play tailing off in his third season, Shumpert’s demand decreased. The other player many teams were interested in was guard Tim Hardaway Jr. The rookie had a solid season for the Knicks when they gave him opportunities to contribute. These two represent the best trade options the Knicks have to assist them in rebuilding. But instead of the Knicks (and their fans) looking to ship one or both out of town, why not consider incorporating both of them?

Looking at the teams that Phil Jackson has put on the court, there has been a history of him having big point guards. Aside from Derek Fisher with the Lakers and BJ Armstrong with the Bulls, Phil has never had a short starting point guard. So where does this leave Iman Shumpert you may ask? Shumpert actually has experience as a point guard, albeit on the collegiate level. In his junior year at Georgia Tech, Shumpert led the Yellow Jackets in points and also in assists. It would not be inconceivable that the Knicks look to use him at the point guard position. And for those that think it would be crazy to try putting him at that position, you may want to look at none other than former Bulls starting point guard Ron Harper.

Of course the Bulls had the ultimate point-forward in Scottie Pippen, but Harper was not the most traditional starting point guard. He was 6’5” and had been a very good scorer for most of his career. But with injuries and age, Phil thought it would be good to slide him into the point guard position. And it worked like a charm for him. Putting Shumpert and Hardaway in the backcourt together would add some size and some mismatches for the team. And I believe Shumpert’s ability and past point guard experience would allow him to be able to initiate the offense and make things run smoothly for them.

One thing most will say about Shumpert playing point guard would be he is an inconsistent shooter. Without question, consistency on the offensive end along with shooting are two of his biggest flaws. But when he is on the court with Hardaway, he would just have to focus on the defensive end. Ron Harper did the same thing for the Bulls when he was starting beside Michael Jordan in Chicago. All Harper was asked to do was play defense and hit three-pointers. Shumpert still has some work to do in the shooting area, but he would definitely be a beast on the defensive end guarding point guards. And with how good he is defensively, he would balance out the defensive efforts of Tim Hardaway Jr.

The second-year swingman has range and can produce offensively, but he still has some serious strides to make defensively. But that would all be balanced out by the defensive prowess of Shumpert. The starter at point guard for the beginning of the season will more than likely be Jose Calderon. The Spaniard is an excellent shooter and is accustomed to playing the position. But he is absolutely a liability on the defensive end. Whatever he gives you offensively he will give up defensively. And with the likes of Kyrie Irving, John Wall, Derrick Rose and Rajon Rondo in the east along with upstarts Kemba Walker and Jeff Teague, Calderon could be in for some serious trouble. Prigioni is not much better as a backup because he does not have the footspeed to keep up with quicker point guards either. Shumpert has the footspeed along with the size to bother opposing point guards.

Going forward, the Knicks are not expected to be that successful in the 2014-2015 season, so why not experiment with Shumpert at the point guard position? It may end up being an experiment that could work out for the best.

For more sports conversations, feel free to follow me on Twitter @General_MP or check me out on Facebook at Mike Patton-The General .

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