The NBA has taken a dramatic shift in position importance, the league was once solely dominated by the big men. From the days of George Mikan all the up way to the domination of Shaquille O'neal, now it seems that the court is owned by the smaller guys. Michael Jordan showed the world that a guard can completely control the outcome of games, that logic has resonated throughout the league until this day. Guards are faster, stronger, and more explosive than ever before. The reigning MVP last year is the new age point-guard, he can finish at the rim like no other before him, and he can completely control the tempo from the 1 spot. Now great point-guards are not a new thing, one of the greatest winners in NBA history was Magic Johnson, and he was PG. What we're talking about here is the "New Age" point-guards. The D-Rose's, Russ' Westbrooks, John Wall's, D-Will's of the NBA.
Most Knicks fans are already looking towards the next answer, could it be Steve Nash, or maybe Deron Willams, or maybe the Knicks have the answer already.
There are only three great pg's now who dominate a game below the rim, that's Rajon Rondo,Chris Paul, and Steve Nash.Outside of them, all of the other greats are extremely explosive. The Knicks have never had anything close to one of these "new age" players before they drafted Iman Shumpert this season. New York surprisingly picked him over other potential picks who most thought were better suited for the team, in fact, Shumpert wasn't even present for the Draft, assuming he wouldn't be chosen in the first round.
Speaking for most fans here, we're glad the Knicks selected Shumpert. The kid can flat out play, so much so that Coach D'Antoni was forced to enter him into the starting line-up over the struggling Toney Douglas. Now Iman is not a natural point-guard, but his floor presence, man on man defense,quickness, and overall explosive of play demands the starting spot. We've seen glimpses of point-guard play, in the loss against the Nuggets, Iman completely out-played Denver's Ty Lawson in the first half. Shumpert controlled pace, picked his shots correctly, and distributed the rock to his team in positions to score. Now those are qualities of a typical starting point-guard, and he has the extra bounce to his game that some others like Lawson cannot provide.
When Shump' is just handling the ball at the top of the key, he resembles a typical rookie guard, searching for the right answer in how to get the team set-up. When he plays with instinct, he looks really special, he has knocked down game changing three's, pulled off beautiful pick and rolls, and has came up with timely steals.
Now the Knicks are struggling, and most believe Baron Davis is the answer, but he's not the long-term resolve for this club. He's a band-aid. Most likely Davis will take his one spot sometime in the beginning of February when he's fully recovered from his back woes, but the Knicks must not stray away from the Shumpert point-guard project completely. They should encourage Davis to mentor Shumpert as Billups started to do with Douglas last season. Prepare him to play well with great players, and learn how to be effective when needed. Shumpert has a similar opportunity as did Rondo when he was given the nod to lead a team of future Hall of Famer's up in Boston. Now, those HOF's are looking to him as the leader.
It takes a total package of a player to become great, Shumpert has many of the qualities already. Yea sure, many young guys can shoot, and pass, and play some defense, but not many can do it all at once without a shred of fear. Shumpert may look overwhelmed at times, as he should, but he never looks scared, he always seems prepared to make a great play, and that's what greatness is, always ready to do something great.
The Knicks have found a guard that has all of the symptoms of the "New Age" point-guard, now its up to him to become one.
Justin Baez is the Editor in Chief of DailyKnicks.com , and a contributor to IamAGM.com. He has been engulfed in basketball since he was 7 years old. The Knicks and the NBA in general has consumed majority of his life as he's lived through the glory days of the 90's and the hardships of the 2000's. He can talk basketball with anyone on the planet, period.