The Knicks have not had much to be happy about lately. Their overall play has taken a turn for the worse as they have gone 5-8 in their last 13 games as they enter Sunday afternoon's home game against the New Orleans Hornets.
New York got some good news on Sunday as Iman Shumpert has been cleared to return to the court for the Knicks' next game Thursday in London against the Detroit Pistons.
“He’s been cleared,” Mike Woodson said. “He’ll practice on Monday and if we get the two practices in, for sure one in London, and there’s no setback, he will be cleared, probably, to play in the Detroit game.”
The Knicks will take the same cautious approach with Shumpert's minutes as they are doing with Amar'e Stoudemire.
Shumpert, the Knicks 2011 first-round pick from Georgia Tech, tore his ACL and had a meniscus tear during Game 1 of New York's playoff series last April against the Miami Heat. While the team is joyful for the return of their young guard, there is nobody happier about it than Shumpert.
“I’m excited,” Shumpert said.. “Coach Woodson is being optimistic. I’ve just got to make sure that I go through practice hard and make sure that I’m comfortable with all the coverages, and make sure I got the plays down and everything. That’s the biggest part with me being comfortable and me being in rhythm.”
With Raymond Felton out for at least another two weeks, Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni have been the only point guards on the team. While Prigioni had done a solid job in Felton's absence, Kidd has struggled. The 40 year old point guard has seen his productivity take a major dip since the increase in minutes. He just does not have the legs to play 35-40 minutes anymore at the point guard spot.
Point guard defense has been a major problem for the New York Knicks the entire season. It;s not hard to understand as the Knicks have a lot of age and little speed at that spot right now. Shumpert is regarded as the team's best perimeter defender and should help slow down opposing the young point guards.
“It bothers me, but that’s what I’ve been working for for eight months, so I can come back and help with the Knicks like that,” Shumpert said. “Also, applying pressure on guards as far as us running our fast-break, so that guys don’t have as much energy to go at us on offense.”
Carmelo Anthony, much like the rest of the team, is playing his worst basketball of the season. He is more than happy that he will be getting a major piece back on the roster.
“We’ve been looking forward to getting our whole team back for a while now, so we’re starting to see light at the end of the tunnel,” Anthony said. “With Shump coming back, Raymond maybe a week and a half, two weeks away or something like that. So we’re looking forward to those guys coming back. We need bodies at this point.”