The New York Knicks kick off Las Vegas Summer League action this afternoon against the New Orleans Pelicans.
They then play the Wizards on Sunday and the Bobcats on Monday, followed by a tournament that will crown a champion.
Here are my top storylines for the Knicks:
- The development of Shumpert
Much like Orlando did with Victor Oladipo, I’m hoping to see Iman Shumpert play all of his minutes at point guard during his time in Vegas. Shumpert is an established NBA player, these games for him are about working on weaknesses. We already know Shump is an effective catch and shoot three point shooter, he shouldn’t attempt one catch and shoot three in these games. This is a time for the soon to be third-year pro to work on creating for himself and others off the bounce. That’s the next step in Shump’s offensive development.
- What do the Knicks have in Hardaway and Leslie?
With how Glen Grunwald has attacked free agency, for any hope of the Knicks going back to heavy Carmelo Anthony at the four lineups, one of either Tim Hardaway Jr. or C.J. Leslie have to be ready to play. Be easy on judging them based on what you see in Vegas, where they will probably play with the ball in their hands as initiators more than they will at any time during meaningful action.
- Can the Knicks find a big worth a roster spot?
The Knicks shouldn’t need another big on the roster — most of their 4/5 minutes will be taken by Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani and Carmelo Anthony. Unfortunately, only one of those players can be a defensive anchor at the five, so a big man that can play 10-12 minutes a night is a necessity. Can Jeremy Tyler , Jerome Jordan or A.J. Matthews be that guy? We’ll see.
- Chris Smith
Is Chris Smith actually going to be a thing on the Knicks roster? If he is, hopefully it’s because he has a good showing and not because he’s J.R. Smith’s brother is. This is a very concerning distraction that can turn into an issue if he earns a roster spot without merit.
Editor’s Note: J.R. Smith will also be in Vegas rooting on his brother and catching some of the young prospects play, so, with that said, we’ll keep our eyes on him. Las Vegas nightlife + J.R. Smith = fun.