Newsday's Al Iannazzone takes you inside the Knicks.
Iman Shumpert talks, plays a big game
Iman Shumpert knocked down all seven shots he took last night, and was as animated on the court as he has been at any time in his NBA career – and this was a preseason game.
Shumpert shouted things after his makes, came to the huddle during timeouts very intense and still talking.
“That’s how I play,” Shumpert said after his 18-point night. “That’s how I play. I ain’t going to be quiet about it no more. That’s just how I play.”
Shumpert asked what changed and he said nothing other than him feeling more comfortable.
“I got a chip on my shoulder,” he said. “I didn’t change nothing. That’s how I play. I changed when I came into the league trying to be quiet and feel my way around. But I’ve been around a little bit now. I’m just going to do how I do. Makes me more comfortable.”
Shumpert said he watched a lot of film of himself in high school and college and being vocal on the court was something that missing.
“When I first got in the league I think I was myself,” he said. “Then the first bit of adversity I sort of tried to take a step back. But I watched enough film. Learned the game, I’m more comfortable. I can go back to doing the things I love to do. I like to talk trash. I ain’t going to do it to the other team and get a technical. But I’m going to talk trash to my team and get away with it.”
Shumpert is in his third season, and it would seem he has the inside track on the being the Knicks’ starting shooting guard. But Mike Woodson isn’t ready to declare that, saying he wants to give J.R. Smith a chance.
Woodson was asked if he thinks Shumpert was trying to prove to him he deserves to start.
“No, Iman’s just playing,” Woodson said. “There’s nothing to prove to me. He’s just got to do his job. If it plays out that way it plays out that way in terms of who starts. In fairness to J.R., J.R. is a big part of what we do. He’s going to be right in the mix as soon as he comes back from his injury.”
Shumpert said he’ll play whatever role Woodson wants him to play, and he’ll be doing plenty of talking.