Iman Shumpert found a new home in Houston after the Rockets traded for him as part of a three-team swap with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Sacramento Kings. While he's found it tough to notch consistent minutes in a tight playoff rotation, head coach Mike D'Antoni knew he'd need an experienced veteran to limit the Golden State Warriors' offensive firepower.
“That definitely helps,” D’Antoni said of Shumpert’s experience, according to Kelly Iko of The Athletic. “He’s been in these big moments — when you’ve played that much, you’re not afraid of the moment. You can play bad or play good, but you roll with guys like that.”
D'Antoni recalled the moment in which he knew Shumpert was a go for this series.
“When I knew I was going to go with him, I said ok,” said D’Antoni. “Gave him two or three days to be sure he practiced and got going, said, ‘You’re playing in this series, so get yourself ready.’ He’s always ready, and the guy’s a professional and plays as hard as anyone.”
Even the rest of the coaching staff has seen how Shumpert has prepared himself for his minutes, which he's spent guarding the same guys he had to guard with the Cavaliers during the NBA Finals. His offensive contributions however, have been an added bonus.
“He’s kept himself ready,” assistant coach John Lucas said of Shumpert. “He’s shooting every day, he’s done his work, he’s kept his conditioning up. He’s been a big factor. When we were rattled, he scored that basket that gave us enough rhythm to get going again.”
With the series tied at 2-2, Shumpert's play will play a role in how Houston tackles this best-of-three the rest of the way.