Iman Shumpert on Eastern Conference: ‘The Knicks are worried about the Knicks’

In an interview with HoopsWorld.com at the 2013 adidas Nations camp, New York Knicks guard/forward Iman Shumpert discussed an array of topics, ranging from his expectations entering his third year, the team’s second-round exit in the playoffs and the hype surrounding the rest of the Eastern Conference.

Coach Mike Woodson wants to see Shumpert improve his offensive game this summer, and that’s precisely what the third-year swingman is doing.

Though he left the Knicks Summer League early, Shumpert has made a habit of working on his shooting this offseason. Shumpert is also keeping in shape so he can be an asset on both offense and defense.

“I’m the young guy, I got to be able to play both sides of the floor and stretch the floor when guys like ‘Melo, like Amare get those double teams,” Shumpert told HoopsWorld.com. “I got to be that guy that can score. I got to be that guy who can make plays, be a playmaker. And that’s all about being more aggressive, having more confidence and understanding what I need to do in my third year.”

Shumpert’s offseason focus is completely different than last season when he was recovering from knee surgery.

Now that he’s healthy, Shumpert is working on perfecting the shots he consistently hit down the stretch last season, including corner 3s and quick pull-up jumpers in transition.

“Last year was all about getting healthy,” he said. “This year I’m healthy. It’s all about making that big improvement in my game. And that’s going to be on the offensive end, being in shape to play both sides of the floor hard … and knock down shots. I’m just trying to be more consistent this year.”

Shumpert added he wants to make a name for himself this year, which could coincide with the Knicks making an even deeper run in the postseason.

Shumpert whiffed at the notion the Knicks’ window for a championship is closing — that the team is too old — and instead said he is confident in the coaching staff, offseason acquisitions and the sentiment in the locker room.

One important key, he said, was ignoring the hype the defending champion Miami Heat are getting, or that of the Chicago Bulls who will welcome back Derrick Rose or the Brooklyn Nets who made a splash with their trade for Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

“We didn’t do our job last year,” Shumpert said, “We got knocked out in the second round and we shouldn’t have. They have every right to criticize us, but we’re worried about our locker room. The Knicks are worried about the Knicks, and we’ve got to worry about improving. We know what we got to do.”

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