The Phoenix Suns are targeting New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert before the Feb. 21 trade deadline, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
Given the Suns' woes on the defensive side of the ball, Shumpert would be a great addition in Phoenix.
The Suns have allowed opponents to shoot 46.9 percent from the floor this season, ranking 29th in the NBA. That includes allowing opponents to shoot 39.3 percent from beyond the arc, the worst mark in the league.
This is, of course, a team-wide failure, but landing a player like Shumpert, who showed he could be an asset defensively in his rookie season, would be a step in the right direction.
The 22-year-old, who has started 11 games for the Knicks this season after returning from a torn ACL on Jan. 17, is an active, aggressive defender. According to John Hollinger (via ESPN), he ranked second among shooting guards in steals per minute last season.
Of course, stealing Shumpert away from New York is easier said than done. The Suns tried to pry the Georgia Tech product away from the Knicks in trade discussions involving Steve Nash in July, but to no avail. The Knicks still appear relatively interested in keeping him.
Still, it's not impossible. Wojnarowski reported that the Suns could offer a package including forward Jared Dudley and a future first-round pick to the Knicks in exchange for Shumpert. That possible first-round pick makes things interesting.
When the Knicks selected Shumpert No. 17 overall in the 2011 NBA draft, they were roundly mocked. But it appears that wasn't so bad a decision after all, and the Suns have reportedly been pursuing him ever since.
Landing a developing player like Shumpert may not seem like big news, but it would undoubtedly be big news in Phoenix. The Suns need a player in the backcourt who can be a defensive stopper and Shumpert has a great deal of potential in that regard.
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