Knicks' Iman Shumpert absorbs critique from Mike Woodson on improving

Iman Shumpert of the Knicks talks to coach Iman Shumpert of the Knicks talks to coach Mike Woodson. (March 7, 2013) Photo Credit: David Pokress

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GREENBURGH, N.Y. - -- The flat-top that was Iman Shumpert's calling card last season was gone on Monday, replaced by the close-cropped do that more than half the players in the NBA sport.

The third-year guard's new, less edgy look didn't stop Knicks coach Mike Woodson from levying a razor-sharp critique of Shumpert's game after practice.

"Iman plays hard. That to me is the thing that's kept him on the floor," said Woodson, who declared last week that Shumpert will compete with J.R. Smith for a starting job. "Iman just has to figure it out. We've got to help him figure out his game that coincides with what we want to do. He's got to be able to play pick-and-roll offense. He's got to be able to run the team with the ball in his hands, because our 'ones' and 'twos' and 'threes' handle the basketball. There are a number of things."

Woodson did not limit his critique to Shumpert's offense, adding that "defensively he's got to start being more solid and not so over-aggressive that he gets beat."

Smith, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, is coming off knee surgery in July and has yet to be cleared to practice. He has not spoken with reporters since Woodson revealed that he is in contention for a starting spot.

Shumpert did not seem overly concerned about his coach's critique.

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"Every level I've played at, I've gotten yelled at," he said. "I think it's because I can do a lot of different things and they expect a lot out of me. I'd rather someone expect a lot out of me than nothing at all."

Shumpert, in fact, seems to like being pushed by his coach.

Said Shumpert: "Everybody's got to learn. You've got to be a sponge in this league. That's the only way to stay in it."

Notes & quotes: Kenyon Martin practiced fully except for the short scrimmage at the end of the session, but Woodson said he will not play him in Thursday's preseason game against the Wizards in Baltimore. "He's not ready for that yet," Woodson said. "I haven't even gotten him in a scrimmage yet." Martin, 35, iced his left ankle during the scrimmage. It's the same ankle he injured at the end of the regular season last spring . . . Shumpert said he plans to release a video of his haircut on social media.

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