Joe Johnson vs. Iman Shumpert
Welcome back, Iman Shumpert. Meet 6-time All-Star Joe Johnson.
Shumpert, a guard that relies on speed and quickness, is playing just his second game after returning from ACL surgery. Even though Shumpert has said he was inspired by the incredible comeback of Vikings running back and athletic freakazoid Adrian Peterson, don’t expect a similar recovery with Shumpert. Shumpert played well in limited action in London against the Pistons, recording 8 points in 15 minutes. That said, the defensive challenge (Kyle Singler) was not quite what he’ll see Monday against Brooklyn.
Most 2-guards struggle against Johnson's combination of size and a renewed shooting stroke in the month of January (shooting 43.4% from deep in the month). Look for Johnson to test Shumpert early in the game with isolations and post-ups.
If the Nets find out early that Shumpert is still shaking off some rust and has trouble staying with Johnson, abusing that matchup could be a big part of Brooklyn’s offensive game plan. In two games against the Knicks last season, Joe Johnson averaged 25 points on 56% (19-34) shooting from the field and 67% (6-9) from long-range. Shumpert started both games.
Though for Knicks fans, and for Iman, this will be a good test to see what can be expected out of the 6’5” SG. As mentioned, every ACL surgery is different. You can be Adrian Peterson, or you can be Ricky Rubio. Rubio, who is off to a dismal comeback with Minnesota, tore his ACL last season as well, and for a guy who doesn’t rely on his speed and quickness as much as Shumpert, not many thought that he would struggle as much as he has in his first 11 games back from injury.
Either way, fans are always entertained when watching a defensive specialist go up against an offensive star such as Joe Johnson. Though Shumpert may not play more than 17-18 minutes, it should be an intense setting when the two are paired up against each other on Monday.
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