Hey, Folks! I've been meaning to write this for a few days, but I lost power again. I'm currently at a Dunkin Donuts at 2am because I don't want to go back to my 40 degree house, so I figured why not now.
Anyway, I first started noticing this during the offseason. Shump seems to be the heart and soul of the team. Even without his presence on the court, his presence is felt.
One of the things that makes a basketball team great is team chemistry. What this chemistry is and how you get it, no one knows for sure, but we know all the teams who win have it.
The Knicks have lacked it for years, however recent years have been kind to us, offering us a lot of what Bill Simmons (yes, yes, I know, but I actually like this thing of his) calls chemists. Guys who make up all the team handshakes and make everybody feel good an get along.
Last year we had Lin, Landry, Tyson, Shump, etc. So we had a few. But a number of those guys are gone and Tyson, while he changed our culture defensively, doesn't really seem like he was the originator of the Smart Triangle or monopoly games with Jerome Jordan. So, while he appeared to be on the list, he was really just along for the ride.
This offseason we picked up Sheed, a known chemist, but this team has Shump's fingerprints all over it.
Last year he was the rallying cry for the bench, or as he named it Mobb Deep. During the offseason, all the videos we got of the team, everyone seemed lighter around him. He's the one that came up with our stompy pre-game ritual. And lets not forget that he came up with #Knickstape, which has now spread throughout the team so much ESPNNY uses it in its Knicks promos. When asked what #Knickstape is, no one has a clear answer, but they all give a look that shows they understand. It's basically our Ubuntu.
Even though he's still "Rook" to Woodson and Melo, they both seem to really like him and have taken things from him.
Last year our team excelled at forcing steals. While Shump was responsible for a number of steals on his own, there was a marked improvement in this area among the rest of the team. I think it was Shump's influence. When he was on the floor it felt like the rest of the team grooved off him and got more aggressive defensively.
My point is that Shump clearly means more to this team than just his physical abilities. The entire team seems to have taken on his attitude #Knickstape.
After thinking about this for days, I began to think if Shump's the heart and soul, what body parts are the other players? Here's what I came up with:
Kidd is the brains
Sheed is the mouth
Melo is the body
Kurt Thomas is the eyes
Tyson is the backbone
Felton is the chip on the shoulder
It's not perfect. I can't figure out Amar'e. Especially because naming any part after him just seems to be mocking him because ... well ... injuries.