Knicks starting guard Emmanuel Mudiay injured his left shoulder in Monday’s loss to the Houston Rockets.
New York Knicks point guard Emmanuel Mudiay has suffered a left shoulder strain in Monday’s game against the Houston Rockets and will miss the next two weeks minimum, the team announced.
Mudiay has played in 39 games for the Knicks this season, starting in 32 of them. He’s averaged a career-high 14.7 points per game along with 3.1 rebounds, and 3.9 assists in 26.6 minutes per game (Basketball-Reference).
The 6-foot-5 lead guard was acquired by New York in a deadline deal last season that sent forward Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-round pick to the Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets, respectively. Mudiay, having been drafted by Denver seventh overall in 2015—behind Kristaps Porzingis, fourth, and Mario Hezonja, fifth—flamed out with the Nuggets as guard Jamal Murray edged him out in competition.
Mudiay arrived to the Knicks with a point guard competition as it were, too. The Congolese-born Mudiay has had to fight to earn minutes over Knicks draft pick Frank Ntilikina and G League call-up Trey Burke. Burke in recent weeks has been demoted to third-string at point and largely out of the rotation, but Ntilikina remains firmly the backup at the 1.
As the Post‘s Marc Berman reports, Burke believes he’ll come off the bench with Ntilikina starting for New York while Mudiay is sidelined. (This post will be updated to reflect the change in the starting lineup.)
Emmanuel Mudiay had tallied new career highs in scoring; he totaled 34 points against the Hornets in a December 14th win. Mudiay followed up his career-best performance with 32-point matches versus the Suns and the Hawks in the same month. Despite a down January, Mudiay had the starter’s job for New York locked up heading into the All-Star break.
Mudiay’s absence also represents the chance for Frank Ntilikina to step up. Ntilikina has been having a tepid sophomore season, to put it mildly, and only in the last week or so has his defense started percolating and further meriting the 20-year-old more minutes while outweighing much of his own individual offense. Nevertheless, Frank at the point could push the Frenchman to more active shooting while learning the ropes of distributing the ball (Mudiay’s 12.4 field goal attempts per game have to be allocated and filled by someone or someones in his stead).
Burke, meanwhile, has a chance to re-insert himself in either the discussion to stay in New York longer than 2019 (he’s an unrestricted free agent this summer) or win some value among bidding teams before the February 7th trade deadline.
Mudiay’s injury has dampened an otherwise promising season from one of general manager Scott Perry and head coach David Fizdale’s reclamation projects—next to varying performances of Noah Vonleh, Mario Hezonja, and Burke. While not entirely wonderfully efficient, Mudiay demonstrated his ability to choreograph an NBA offense, albeit on a bottom-three team, and his time in the league could be extended due to improving performances since being traded to the Knicks.