If there was any question whether Knicks guard Iman Shumpert should start over teammate J.R. Smith, those doubts were laid to rest during Wednesday’s preseason game against the Boston Celtics.
Shumpert was 7-of-7 from the field to score a team-high 18 points, as the Knicks defeated the Celtics 103-102 before 10,404 fans at Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
There was talk from head coach Mike Woodson about Shumpert’s knee being a problem for the baller, but those issues were invisible during the game.
Shumpert, who scored 11 points in the second quarter, made three 3-pointers against the Celtics and capped his night with a beautiful 1-on-1 15-foot pull-up jumper after dazzling off the dribble.
“He was great,’’ Woodson said. “I don’t think he missed a shot tonight. He was poised. He has nothing to prove to me. In fairness to J.R., he is a big part of what we do and will be right in the mix when he comes back from injury. It’s going to be competitive.’’
Smith is currently recovering from knee surgery and a will be serving a five-game suspension for violating the NBA’s antidrug policy once the regular season begins. That could be all the time needed for Shumpert to secure his starting position.