Iman Shumpert's wild game on Thursday -- five-for-20 shooting with six turnovers as the Knicks lost to the Memphis Grizzlies -- has drawn some wild reactions. TNT broadcaster and former NBA star Charles Barkley is ripping Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni for allowing the wild play. D'Antoni is firing back at the round one, even if he is less round than he used to be. Shumpert, the rookie guard who was the Knicks' first-round draft choice, is ripping himself.
"I think anyone who saw the game knows I messed up the other night,'' Shumpert said. "I acknowleged it, my coaches acknowledged it.''
Shumpert has quickly moved into the Knicks starting lineup at point guard, a spot where the Knicks are searching for an answer with Chauncey Billups gone, Baron Davis injured and Mike Bibby little more than a part-time jump shooter at this stage of his career.
Shumpert is averaging 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and one steal thus far.
D'Antoni seems to be the only one not going off the deep end over the way the promising rookie played Thursday.
"He knows he's not supposed to take all those shots. We showed him the tape and where he needs to move the ball. You also don't want to jerk him out and put a damper on his enthusiasm. He's out there competing on both ends and he made some mistakes. He'll work through that. He's a good kid and not selfish. He's a great kid.''
That, likely, is the best way D'Antoni could handle it. You can't expect perfect decision-making from a kid who has played only seven NBA games. Shumpert gets his first chance to show what he learned from Thursday when the Knicks face the Oklahoma City Thunder Saturday night.