Defense is tough to quantify. But Knicks second year guard Iman Shumpert made a quantitative impact against the Boston Celtics in the first round of the postseason and is now struggling to make the same kind of impact against Indiana. Against Boston, Shumpert was faced with the challenge of guarding both Paul Pierce and Jeff Green, the Celtics two best offense players and played extremely well in the six game series.
One year ago at this time, Shump was withered up on the floor in Miami, needing help to leave the floor because of his torn ACL. But in the 2013 postseason, Shumpert emerged as a major difference maker for the Knicks.
The Knicks were far more productive with Shumpert on the floor against the Celtics. The team forced four more turnovers with him on the floor and two more blocks with him on the floor than with him off.
The Celts shot only 27.5% from midrange with him on the floor and 35.5% off. The team scored an average of 107.3 points per 100 possessions and 82.6 with him off. Per 100 possessions the Knicks gave up only 87 points with him on the floor and 95.5% off. Offensively the Knicks shot 55% with Shumpert on the court but only 43.0 percent off. Shumpert is a capable three point shooter, which leads to better floor spacing, freeing up Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton to attack the basket.
Shumpert and the Knicks play much better defense with him on the floor, because Shumpert seldom requires help defense and Coach Woodson is comfortable putting him on an island defensively and letting the rest of the team worry about their assignments.
Shumpert is also long and capable of guarding point guards, two guards, and small forwards. But against the Pacers, Shump has been far less successful. His overall net rating is -7.3, or in other words the Knicks give up 7 more points than they score with him on the court. Both defensively and offensively Shumpert has been far less successful against the Pacers. Shumpert only has one steal in two games and has no blocks. He is averaging 13.5 points but also has not been as active on the glass, gathering only 10 boards in two games.
Shumpert is the one of the main keys for the Knicks defensively and if the Knicks want to advance to the Conference Finals then Shump has to lock down any and all offensive players across from him. And with J.R. Smith questionable for game three due to illness, game three would be a perfect opportunity for Shump to excel due to an increase in minutes.