New York Knicks: Why Iman Shumpert Should Be in the Starting Lineup

Mike Moraitis@@michaelmoraitisAnalyst IJanuary 10, 2017

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 29:  Iman Shumpert #21 of the New York Knicks and Jeremy Lin #17 of the New York Knicks celebrate during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Madison Square Garden on February 29, 2012 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

With the exception of Jeremy Lin, Iman Shumpert has been one of the more impressive stories so far this season for the New York Knicks. He's been so impressive that it's only a matter of time before Shump makes the starting five.

But it's not only Shumpert's higher skill level that gives him the edge over current starting shooting guard Landry Fields—it's his ball-handling skills as well.

Shumpert has proven to be a great defender for the Knicks and one of the best young defenders in the entire league. He has the ability to shut down the opposing team's best scorer when he's been called upon to do so at any point during a game.

Plus, with the emergence of Lin and addition of Baron Davis, Shump has flourished moving over to the two guard spot for the majority of his time on the floor.

And, from time to time, we've seen him share some of the ball-handling duties as well.

It's pretty apparent that defenses around the NBA know Lin doesn't do well when he is pressured by a fast point guard with solid defensive abilities. And unfortunately for New York, Fields doesn't have the necessary ball-handling skills to help alleviate that pressure.

Inserting Shump into the starting five gives the Knicks another point guard-type on the floor to help run the offense when Lin is eradicated by pressure or a double-team. New York won't have to abandon any set plays or game plans on the offensive side of the ball because Shumpert can continue to run the offense.

Doing this also allows the Knicks to keep two ball-handlers on the court at the same time while not having to sacrifice scoring by putting two point guards in at the same time.

That, in turn, would also erase a floor general off the Knicks bench.

Shumpert can easily slide back into the shooting guard role where he plays best when Lin controls the offense again. It will help keep opposing defenses honest and make them back off a press defense against the true Knicks point guard.

Not to mention, a team's best scorer is in the starting lineup and having Shump on the floor to start a game would enable the Knicks' best defender to match up with their opponent's best scorer.

Shump's great all-around play has earned him the right to get into the starting five and killing two birds with one stone, he will naturally take pressure of Lin and keep some continuity in the Knicks offense in the process.