Iman Shumpert has the added motivation of 2014-15 being a contract year, and he can drastically increase his payday by elevating his play with a qualifying offer waiting in 2015-16, per Spotrac. His defense remains the most active and proficient of any player on the team. That alone will keep him in heavy rotation in the lineup, but the offensive side of his game has been fraught with inconsistency.
The rapid ball movement of the triangle offense should put Shumpert in more advantageous scoring opportunities than he has seen so far with the Knicks. As Shumpert said at his Basketball ProCamp in Westchester, via the New York Post's Howie Kussoy:
There’s constant action going on. I think I’ll be able to capitalize off that and I’ll be able to use my athleticism a lot more than standing in the corner. ... I know this year, this offense, I’ll have a lot more opportunities to cut and get to the basket, so I just want to work on the strength in my leg and be able to jump off and be comfortable.
Shump managed to get in a backhanded dig at the old offensive scheme—similar to the Shane Battier "go stand in the corner and wait for an open three" approach—while praising the triangle. The looming question remains: Can he improve his shooting?
Though Shumpert has never been a particularly gifted shooter (39.6 percent from the field over three years at Georgia Tech), his efficiency has regressed in his time with the Knicks. Here are his shooting percentages listed chronologically by season: 40.1, 39.6 and 37.8 on field goals; 30.6, 40.2 and 33.3 on three-pointers; 79.8, 76.6 and 74.6 on free throws.
While Shumpert certainly expends the majority of his energy playing defense, those shooting numbers are borderline unacceptable. Even at the rim, he shot just 53.6 percent, raising questions about his finishing ability. He shot 23.3 percent from three to 10 feet and 29.2 percent from 10 to 16 feet, per Basketball-Reference. His heat map reveals his coldest areas as both corner three-point shots and on the left wing.
The key to his success will be getting him the ball in advantageous situations, but it's ultimately up to Shumpert to convert more corner threes. He will see plenty of catch-and-shoot opportunities, and while his defense will keep him on the court, it's time to elevate his shooting to an NBA level. If he rises to the occasion, a tidy payday will be his reward.