Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images
The offense that made the New York Knicks so feared during the regular season has transformed into one that's overly reliant on isolations from Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith.
Going up against a stingy Indiana Pacers defense, that style of play isn't going to cut it. Quick ball rotations will be key, and one man who would be happy to be on the receiving end of them is Iman Shumpert.
The dynamic guard could be relied upon to score in big spots for the Knicks, just as he was in Game 6 (17 points, 6-of-9 shooting, 3-of-3 from three) against the Boston Celtics. He will be needed on the defensive end as well, where he's established himself as one of the league's best wing defenders in just his second season.
According to NBA.com, the Knicks were plus-19.8 points per 100 possessions with Shumpert on the floor in Round 1, while they were minus-12.9 per 100 possessions when he sat.
With the length necessary to disrupt Paul George's versatile game, Shumpert will be the Knicks' most important player not named Carmelo in this second-round series.
In Game 2 against Indiana, the second-year star showed up in a big way. Not only was he his usual defensive-minded self, but he ignited the Knicks offense in the second quarter, including one major putback flush. He would finish with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting in the win.
That contest exemplified how valuable Shumpert is to the New York offense. When he's locked in, he gives Mike Woodson another weapon to utilize—one who can attack off the dribble and off the catch.