Consider Iman Shumpert's company a legal performance enhancer for Carmelo Anthony.
With Shumpert's presence in the lineup, life will become just a tad bit simpler and a little less overwhelming for the Knicks' MVP candidate.
Think of it like a family who hires a housekeeper to handle a share of the household chores. Instead of Melo having to do the laundry, wax the floors, take the kids to school and wash the dishes, Shumpert can take a responsibility off his already crowded plate.
Shumpert adds a unique dimension of basketball on both sides of the ball, and one the Knicks' roster could sorely use. His youth and athleticism will translate to easy buckets in the half-court and transition—something they haven't been used to without many fresh legs in the lineup.
Carmelo Anthony's struggles over the past few weeks have been a result of him doing too much. It started against Boston and it stuck for a few games.
Shumpert allows Melo to do less. "The less you do, the more you do." Don't you remember Forgetting Sarah Marshall?
This isn't a case of a trigger-happy guard stealing shots from the star player. Melo's scoring opportunities aren't going to decline, they're just going to get better. Remember, while Shumpert is a natural fit at the off-guard slot, he played point guard at Georgia Tech because of his ability to create off the dribble.
Only four teams in the NBA average fewer assists per game than the Knicks, who could use more playmakers like Shumpert to complement the go-to scorers.
Shumpert's defensive presence forces the opposition to exert more energy and gives his teammates an extra breath. The energy he can save Carmelo could be the difference between a pull-back contested look and an aggressive take to the rack, given there will be more gas left in his tank when it matters most in the fourth quarter.
There's a reason coach Mike Woodson inserted Shump into the starting lineup despite him not playing in game action for over seven months. He's a sling for a tired arm or a bandage for a wound. With Raymond Felton going down, Ronnie Brewer fading away and Jason Kidd in need of rest, Shumpert's presence takes some of the pressure of Carmelo.
If this team proves successful over the long run, Shump will be beloved by the city the way Marcus Camby was in 1999, when his energy and passion sparked the Knicks' run to the finals. And I'll be the first in line to purchase my Iman Shumpert Chia Pet designed from his perfectly crafted flattop.
The Knicks are a more dangerous and versatile team with Iman Shumpert in the rotation. Melo's best shot at MVP is if the Knicks make a run at the No. 1 seed, and Shump gives them a better chance to do that.
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