With the trade deadline looming, rumors have started swirling regarding deals the New York Knicks could pull off to add one final piece before attempting to win a championship. Unfortunately, acquiring Orlando Magic shooting guard J.J. Redick in exchange for Iman Shumpert would not improve the team’s chances of winning a title.
HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy reported via Twitter that the Knicks and the Magic were discussing possible ways to swap the two players.
A quick glance at the two players’ statistics suggests that the Knicks should jump at the chance to make this deal.
Redick is averaging 15.2 points per game this season while shooting 45.4 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from behind the three-point line. In contrast, Shumpert is putting up just 5.3 points per game and has a field-goal percentage of 33.8 since returning from a torn ACL he suffered against the Miami Heat in last year’s playoffs.
Shumpert’s offensive numbers have been lackluster at best, but his contribution to the Knicks comes at the other end of the floor. While it will take him time to get back into the flow of the game, the Knicks must resist the urge to use the “win now” rationale to convince themselves that this is a smart move.
While Redick may be able to contribute more to New York this season, the team also risks upsetting the roster’s current balance. The Knicks have quality offensive threats like Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and Amar’e Stoudemire in addition to defensive studs such as Tyson Chandler, Ronnie Brewer and Shumpert.
This roster does not need another veteran with Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace and Marcus Camby on the squad, and it does not need another sharpshooter with Steve Novak available.
With Shumpert, the Knicks have a young, athletic player who has the potential to grow into one of the best defenders in the NBA. The amount of growth that will take place this season is debatable, but the 22-year-old’s versatility makes him worth waiting for.
Shumpert can defend point guards, shooting guards and small forwards, giving the Knicks the ability to put unorthodox lineups on the floor. Going small has been extremely effective for the team this year, and Shumpert’s ability to play multiple positions gives Mike Woodson plenty of flexibility.
If the Knicks do make this deal, they will be sacrificing Shumpert’s defense and versatility for Redick’s outside shooting and reliable, veteran play. Neither of the qualities Redick brings to the table are dire needs for New York, making Shumpert the better option both for the present and the future.