Iman Shumpert plans to work on his game in NBA summer league
WHITE PLAINS - Iman Shumpert wants to pick up where he left off last season.
For Shumpert, that means participating in the NBA's summer league next month in Las Vegas. The Knicks guard is entering his third season and already is established as a starter, but he is embracing the opportunity to work on his game among NBA hopefuls.
"It was tough losing in the playoffs, but I felt like I built sort of a foundation," said Shumpert, who averaged 9.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in the postseason. "I just want to build on that every chance I go out there and play. If I play any summer basketball, besides the summer league, I just want to work on my game and make sure that I perfect my craft."
This is Shumpert's first full offseason since the Knicks selected him with the 17th pick of the 2011 draft. His first offseason was affected by the lockout and he spent last summer rehabilitating his left knee after tearing the ACL in the 2012 playoffs.
Shumpert, who turns 23 Wednesday, doesn't think playing in summer league is an injury risk. "I sat out six months," Shumpert said. "I feel I did my sitting out. You can't go out there always thinking you're going to get hurt. Sometimes you've just got to go out there and play the game."
Shumpert showed no signs of injury Tuesday at his basketball camp as he threw down an alley-oop dunk.
"It feels great," Shumpert said of his knee. "I'm not thinking about it anymore. I feel like it's long behind me having that ACL tear. I'm happy with the things that I worked on while I was hurt. I feel like it brought a new aspect to my game. Now I'm just looking to come into next season all ready."
Shumpert said he hopes the Knicks' core returns next season, but he's ready to play a bigger role if second-leading scorer J.R. Smith departs in free agency.
"I think I can," Shumpert said. "I've always accepted all challenges. I would just take that as another challenge."
The Knicks won 54 games last season and captured their first Atlantic Division title since 1993-94. Shumpert hopes the team uses that as a springboard to greater success next season.
"Hopefully we can win 60 next year. We just want to build on what we already have," Shumpert said. "We want to lock in on our division, set ourselves up in the playoffs and we want to get to the Eastern Conference finals."