Iman Shumpert's season-ending ACL tear suffered against the Miami Heat on Saturday ended all hopes of the New York Knicks making a surprise run in the NBA playoffs this season.
Knicks announce Iman Shumpert has suffered a torn left ACL and lateral meniscus. Out 6-8 months.— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) April 29, 2012
The rookie guard provided scoring off the bench, was able to start at shooting guard, and could even play point guard well if injuries forced him to play that role.
His versatility and offensive talents are a huge loss to the Knicks, and without them, they have no shot to upset a determined Heat team with star forward LeBron James motivated to dominate.
Shumpert was also needed for his ability to defend Heat star Dwyane Wade, who will probably be guarded by the less-athletic Landry Fields for the remainder of the series.
Shumpert is not an elite one-on-one defender, but his quickness and high basketball intelligence allows him to defend top-tier offensive players well enough on a consistent basis.
If the Knicks lost by 33 to the Heat with Shumpert playing 19 minutes in Game 1, then they have no shot if he can't factor at all throughout the rest of the series.
In a series where the Knicks are not shooting well and are having trouble scoring, losing Shumpert, who is one of their most dynamic scorers, is a loss that can't be overcome.
His knee injury is a terrible way to end what was a strong rookie season for the guard out of Georgia Tech.
Not many Knicks fans were thinking their team would select Shumpert in the first round of the 2011 NBA draft, but the young guard did very well for New York this year.
If he can work hard to rehabilitate and get his knee back to full strength again, Shumpert will be a big part of the Knicks' success next season and well into the future.