Shumpert has 'lots of confidence'
December, 25, 2011
By Ian Begley
It's late in 5 on 5 drills last Tuesday. Iman Shumpert catches a pass, squares up behind the arc and flicks a high-arching jumper over the outstretched hand of Carmelo Anthony.
A few possessions later, Anthony catches the ball on the wing and assesses the defense. Shumpert sizes up the superstar, claps twice, crouches low in a defensive stance and gets to work. The possession ends in a missed shot by Anthony.
"He can make a lot of plays," says backcourt mate and veteran guard Mike Bibby. "He can score the basketball, he can guard people, he's a god passer and he he has a lots confidence. That's what you need coming in [to the league]."
No, Shumpert doesn't lack confidence. He showed it every time he took the floor in training camp scrimmages and preseason games.
The Knicks' first-round pick has impressed veterans and the coaching staff by playing an aggression and self-assuredness that's rare for a rookie. In two preseason games against the Nets, Shumpert scored 11.5 points in 28 minutes.
"His defense is really good," Mike D'Antoni said after the Knicks' final preseason game. "He is a big guard, point guard, small forward that can guard a lot of people. He is quick and strong and ... he's been impressive so far."
Just how Shumpert fits into the Knicks' rotation remains to be seen.
In all likelihood, he'll start the season as a reserve shooting guard. But D'Antoni curiously hadn't named his starting rotation the day before Sunday's season opener.
So there is a small chance Shumpert can start at point guard. No matter what his role is, Shumpert will play it with confidence.
"Some guys are [confident], some guys aren't," Bibby says. "He definitely is and it's going to help him."