For the Knicks there will be no “panic on the streets of London” today, as The Smiths sang. Second-year guard and perimeter defending savant Iman Shumpert could start in New York’s game against Detroit in the English capital after his recovery from a knee injury. The second piece of good news won’t affect tonight’s game, but key bench player Rasheed Wallace will not be out for the season, according to the Knicks. And that’s big for New York.
Several outlets reported Wednesday that Wallace could be out for the year with a foot injury after playing just 20 games in his first season back since 2009-10. Head coach Mike Woodson and Wallace each said today, though, that Wallace will be back. In the New York Times:
“He’ll play eventually – but not tonight,” Woodson said. The coach was then told of reports suggesting Wallace would miss the rest of the season. “That’s news to me,” he said. “That’s not coming out of our camp.”
When asked whether Wallace was on the verge of retiring from pro basketball, Woodson said: “Absolutely not. He’s getting treatment and doing what’s asked of him, so we’re trying to get him back out on the floor.”
Wallace later said that “I’m good” and that he’d be back. He’s been transitioned from a human victory cigar into a key role player this season, a symbol of the Knicks’ surprising turn. He’s done it by having one of the finest seasons since he was a Trail Blazer a decade ago. Per 36 minutes his 17.8 points are the most in 10 years; his 10.2 rebounds are his best ever; and his 99 defensive rating is only the sixth time in his 16-year career he’s broken 100.
One exception, and there’s no way to put this politely, is that .388 shooting is not good for a player known as a shooter, not a back-to-the-basket big man. Yet even for this caveat there is a caveat: Wallace shoots most from outside, and on his 3.4 three-point attempts this season he’s shooting 48.6 percent effective field-goal. Having nearly a one-out-of-two shot of getting a three from a player who, frankly, looked awful in his last full season in Boston, is a bonus. And after news that he might be lost for the season sank in yesterday, getting him back — and seeing Shumpert play for the first time since April 26 — should be a bonus for Knicks fans, too.
What do you think of the impact Shumpert and Wallace can have?
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