As the Knicks begin their second half journey to the playoffs, each game will become increasingly important to their place in the standings, overall morale, and momentum heading into the postseason.
On Wednesday afternoon in Indianapolis, second-year guard Iman Shumpert shed some light on the discussions inside the film room before New York’s first practice since the All-Star break.
“I think in film there was a big picture conversation,” Shumpert explained. “We know what we have to do. I think we spent a lot of time saying how much we slipped defensively and it hasn’t been that bad. We need to pick it up in all areas of our game. We need to make sure we are scoring easier buckets; we’ve been working really hard for buckets lately, been putting a lot of pressure on Melo and Amar’e just to score in spots where they should have easier possessions coming down the court.”
The Knicks are 10th in the league in points per game but Shumpert continued to highlight the adjustments that need to be made on both sides of the floor. In the early portion of the season, New York was destroying opposing teams with crisp ball movement and deadly 3-point shooting. He believes the squad can and will return to that type of free-flowing approach to the game.
“We just want to come down and make sure we get the best shot every time and not have to force them to do an ISO every single time down and defensively we just want to pick it up,” Shumpert added.
An interesting part of the shootaround chat with Shumpert was his thoughts on this season compared to his rookie campaign. Shumpert is still recovering from a significant ACL injury in last year’s playoffs, yet he senses a drastically different feel from 2012.
“I didn’t feel it last year but now I know what it is,” Shumpert described. I know the difference after the All-Star break, things pick up. Guys get real serious. This level of focus is what you’ve been waiting on. I’m just excited to go and make this playoff run and hopefully we seed high, now we’re sitting at the top and just need to keep on working, trying for that No. 1 spot.”