Usually there is no “D” in D’Antoni, however a few minor moves seem to indicate that the Knicks are finally committed to stopping their opponent on the defensive side of the floor. Although the Knicks head coach has had plenty of both regular season and postseason success, his lack of an NBA Finals appearance has caused the public to dub him as too offensive-minded to ever win a championship. For all of those D’Antoni doubters, help is finally on the way.
It all started back in June during the NBA Draft when most Knicks fans were clamoring for New York to select a center to start next to Amar’e Stoudemire. However, just because the fans want a big, doesn’t mean you have to take one. Instead, the Knicks took who they thought would be the best defensive talent, Iman Shumpert, who quite possibly could be a Chauncey Billups replacement in near future. Of course Shumpert was booed at the draft, but have you ever seen a Knicks pick not named Patrick Ewing that wasn’t? Despite the masses’ disapproval, it seems that the Knicks may have gotten a steal.
Judging by his interviews, Shumpert certainly seems to have the right attitude and mindset. In his most recent chat, he deemed his defensive play as contagious and went on to explain his eagerness to familiarize himself with teammates at a training camp run by Amar’e in the near future. Even more recently, Shumpert dropped 25 points to go along with six rebounds in a recent “Lockout League” game in Las Vegas.
CSNNE.com’s A. Sherrod Blakely had this to say about Shumpert’s debut: “There were a handful of rookies, but Shumpert was hands-down the best of the bunch. His athleticism was impressive, but he showed the ability to knock down jumpers as well which would make him an extremely tough cover in the coming years.”