The Knicks reportedly want to move Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith or Shane Larkin. Tim Hardaway Jr is untouchable. Iman is still young and he plays defense. Shane is not ready to start but could learn from Calderon and Prigioni. So I would try to trade away J.R. Smith, not that he’s a bad player but he did fall off last season.
The Knicks have a lot of wing players that do the same thing. Shumpert, Hardaway Jr, Smith and Ellington all shoot threes. Ellington can’t stay healthy so he probably won’t play much. Smith is the best scorer out of the bunch and he can get hot quickly. However after getting paid he struggled early and often but he played well in the last month. He is the oldest player out of the bunch. I know being 28 is not old but the Knicks have enough veteran guards to help Shumpert, Larkin and Hardaway Jr.
Shumpert could be a great talent. He’s battled injuries but did manage to play in 74 games last year. He was in and out of the starting lineup and never got into a groove. He’s only 24 and can guard the point and shooting guard. He should be inserted into the starting lineup and use his defense and athleticism to get easy baskets. He is a good shooter from the corners so he gives Carmelo some space.
I know it was only summer league but Tim Hardaway Jr looked good. He could be the sixth man on this Knicks team. He can shoot the 3 but can attack the basket as well. With the right coaching he could be a 3 and D guy also. He’s only 22 and he needs more minutes to continue to develop his game.
Let’s take a look at the shooting chart for Smith, Shumpert and Hardaway Jr.
Smith is a very good three point shooter at the top of the arc. He does not take many short corner threes and he does not attack the basket that much. I’m sure Smith can bounce back after last season but I would still go with the younger guys.
Shumpert is not the shooter that J.R is but he can knock them down from the corner. He should focus on shooting corner threes. I watched him bring the ball up and take pull up threes or shoot threes off the dribble. He needs to stick to his strengths. Defense and corner threes. He’s an athletic guy so he should be getting to the basket more often. He takes less than a free throw a game and only shot over 100 free throws once in a season.
Hardaway Jr. can also shoot the three. He made 36% of his threes in his rookie season. He needs to work on shooting the corner 3 from the left side. Other than that he was at league average. Hardaway Jr. did take more shots in the paint than both Shumpert and Smith. He took 128 free throws which was more than Shumpert has had in any season. He averaged 22 points in summer league and worked on some post moves.
Smith is due $5.9 million this season and has a player option for $6.4 million next year. I think the Knicks could move that contract for a player that will help them going forward. Shumpert will be a restricted free agent after this season so the Knicks could use him for trade bait if he plays well this season.
Phil Jackson has done a decent job with the moves he has made so far. It wouldn’t hurt to keep adding pieces that will help going forward. The Knicks might surprise some people this season and getting good value for one of these shooters is a good call.