Dec 16, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard J.R. Smith (8) drives to the basket against Washington Wizards small forward Trevor Ariza (1) at Madison Square Garden. Washington Wizards defeat the New York Knicks 102-101. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

New York Knicks shooting guard duo continuing to fire blanks

There are many among many of problems of why the New York Knicks enter Monday night’s matchup with the Orlando Magic with an abysmal 8-18 record.

But as bad as the big men have been, as bad as the point guards have been, maybe nothing can be directly attributed to the Knicks’ woes as much as the struggles of Iman Shumpert and J.R. Smith.

Dec 16, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks shooting guard Iman Shumpert (21) brings the ball up court during the second half against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden. Washington Wizards defeat the New York Knicks 102-101. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

To put it kindly, the Knicks have gotten next to nothing from the shooting guard spot all season, something that can’t keep continuing to be a problem.

If it weren’t for Smith wearing the same colors, Shump may be the most frustrating player wearing a Knicks uniform.

Many thought he would emerge as a solid third scoring option this season, but I’m closer to becoming that guy than Shumpert currently is.

His frustrating season continued on Saturday when only went 1-for-7 in 17 minutes, 39 seconds of playing time and scored just two points in the Knicks’ 95-87 loss to Memphis. The guard missed all three of his 3-point attempts. In a sign that head coach Mike Woodson may be losing faith in him, Shumpert played just seven minutes in the second half and two in the fourth quarter.

Shumpert has scored 19 points in his last eight games. He is shooting just 14 percent (6-for-42) over the eight-game stretch. On the season, he is hitting just 35 percent, nearly 5 percent lower than last season. He’s shooting 31 percent from 3-point land, down from 40 percent last year.

Woodson should be losing confidence in the third-year guard as he hasn’t been that great defensively either. You simply can’t continue to give major minutes to a guy not producing and Shump is far from being a productive player.

But if you aren’t going to play Shumpert, you can’t turn to Smith.

However despite averaging only 11.2 points per game while shooting an abysmal 34.1 percent from the floor and 34.4 percent from behind the arc, Woodson will still allow Smith to disrupt the Knicks offense by giving him over 30 minutes per game. That’s 30 minutes a night he doesn’t deserve and quite frankly hasn’t earned.

Combined, Smith (10.1) and Shumpert (9.1) don’t have a PER of 20.

That’s unacceptable and simply has to stop.

The only other option is to give rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. more minutes. The Michigan product is only averaging 17.1 a night. That number should be closer to the 30 that Smith is getting as at the minimum you know Hardaway is going to give maximum effort at both ends of the floor, He has outplayed both Smith and Shump to this point and giving Hardaway a serious bump in minutes is the only thing that makes sense.

But Woodson won’t do that.

He will continue to run Smith out there and watch him kill the Knicks offense while being lazy on defense.

At the end of the day though if Woodson doesn’t find an answer to his woes at the 2-guard spot, things have no chance of getting any better any time soon.

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Tags: Iman Shumpert J.R. Smith New York Knicks Tim Hardaway Jr

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