Harris DeckerHeading into the 2013-14 season, one of the biggest questions will be where to play Iman Shumpert in order to see the best results? We saw in the playoffs last year that Shumpert has the potential to be not only an elite defender, but a reliable scoring option. He can shoot from almost any distance and has the ability to get inside and draw fouls if given the opportunity.
Given all of this, the question becomes where he serves the Knicks best. The only players who are locks to crack the starting lineup are Raymond Felton, Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler. That leaves the question open. Does he play shooting guard? Does he play small forward? Does he get reps at point guard?
For me, this is an easy question to answer: Shumpert should play most of his minutes at small forward, like he did in the 2013 playoffs. Just like Anthony at power forward, he will create matchup problems because he is smaller than most of the small forwards in the league. Anthony found ways to dominate at the 4 this season for the same reason. Despite his size, his electric defensive style makes him able to defend players of almost any size giving him the unique ability to thrive at the 3 despite his 6’5” height.
The argument against this strategy is that he’s a natural guard and on a team that now includes Metta World-Peace and Carmelo Anthony, why would you play a player out of position? This is a fair point but one that answers itself. World-Peace and Shumpert are both above average defenders. Being able to always have one of these guys on the floor as a defensive leader gives the Knicks a big advantage against some of the leagues most elite scorers.
Shumpert will have the ability to move to shooting guard in rotations that include Anthony and Metta World-Peace giving the Knicks flexibility and added defense against tough guards. Those scenarios aside, Shumpert should be able to demonstrate his incredibly athletic playing style best at small forward this season. Now the question is, if Shumpert is at the 3, who starts at the 2 for the Knicks?
What position would you like to see Iman Shumpert play?