Knicks Insider: Iman Shumpert sits preseason opener with hamstring injury

By on October 9, 2014

Jose Calderon (l.) tries to get around Celtics' Jared Sullinger Wednesday night.David Butler II/USA Today Sports Jose Calderon (l.) tries to get around Celtics’ Jared Sullinger Wednesday night.

HARTFORD — The Knicks wouldn’t allow any Shumping around Wednesday night against the Celtics.

Iman Shumpert wanted to play but was held out of the Knicks’ preseason opener because he was limited in practices earlier this week with a right hamstring injury.

“Shump is in a good spot, but with the hamstring it can be tricky, and we just want to be careful,” coach Derek Fisher said. “He had a great workout today, he’s a hard worker, he’ll be back in practice tomorrow, and we expect him to be available the rest of the preseason going forward.”

Added Shumpert: “The goal is to be ready for the regular season, so they don’t want me rushing it. I’m the player and coach is the coach, man. I just want to play because it’s a game, but they want me to hold back. They feel like they want me to do a couple of scrimmages before getting out here and playing in a game, so I’m just gonna trust in my coaches and my training staff.”

Fisher said Tim Hardaway, who’s been nursing a hip injury, was scheduled to play, but new center Jason Smith was unavailable for personal reasons.

KEVIN, HELP US
As the Daily News reported on Sept. 25, the Knicks officially announced the hiring of Kevin Whitted as the first head coach of their new D-League affiliate, the Westchester Knicks.

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Whitted, a college teammate of Knicks assistant GM Allan Houston at Tennessee, previously has served as an assistant coach with Fort Wayne and Springfield in the D-League. Whitted said the affiliate will run the same offensive and defensive systems as the Knicks, adding “we want to be the incubator for the big club.”

The Knicks also considered Craig Hodges, who played for team president Phil Jackson with the Bulls, for the position last month.

“Kevin has a proven track record of developing players and is committed to the processes and development of this team,” Houston said in a statement. “I’m confident in his ability to lead and provide an environment for players to grow on and off the court.”

ANOTHER BIG MAN
The Knicks signed 7-footer D.J. Mbenga, who won two championship rings as a bench player under Phil Jackson and a teammate of Fisher’s with the Lakers, to a non-guaranteed training camp contract. The 33-year-old product of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) hasn’t played in the NBA since 2011, spending the past few seasons in China and the Philippines.

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