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Iman Shumpert is almost set to return from an ACL tear.
The Knicks played their way to second in the East without two of their top players in Amar'e Stoudemire and Iman Shumpert. That, however, is in the process of changing.
Amar'e Stoudemire, after sitting out the team's first 30 games, is back in action. He's entering contests off the bench but still playing impact minutes for New York. His minutes-restriction is now up to around 25-30 minutes, which is around the number he'll be playing from here on out.
STAT is still shaking off the rust after going eight months without stepping in between the lines. In seven games, he's averaging just under 10 points per contest in slightly over 20 minutes per. He's pulled down just three boards on average, but he did show a glimpse of full recovery against Indiana when he grabbed eight in 22 minutes while scoring nine points.
Stoudemire appears to be in full basketball shape, but he hasn't found his stroke just yet. His first step is quick and he's getting to the rack fairly easily, but not finishing. With more reps, expect the baskets to start falling, and Amar'e to regain star form for New York, especially once Raymond Felton returns. The pair built extraordinary chemistry under Mike D'Antoni prior to the Carmelo Anthony trade.
Iman Shumpert is set to return Jan. 17 against the Detroit Pistons. He suffered a torn ACL against Miami in Game 1 of the two teams' playoff series last season. If the second-year man performs similarly to the way he did as a rookie, there's no question that New York should improve on the whole.
In his first NBA season at 21 years of age, Shump established himself as one of the premier perimeter defenders in the entire league, let alone among rookies. His explosive athleticism enables him to slide into Ronnie Brewer's spot in the rotation easily, and add more than Brewer ever could.
The Knicks are getting better, and for the Miami Heat, that's scary to think about.
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