Professional sports are mostly black or white — and about wins or losses — which explains Iman Shumpert's view of the 2012-13 season.
"We failed. We didn’t do what we were supposed to do," Shumpert said during his season-ending exit interview session with the media on Monday.
Despite earning the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, winning 54 regular season games and enjoying the franchise's most successful season this decade, Shumpert doesn't look back fondly on a season that ended far earlier than he, his teammates and the rabid fanbase expected.
"At least the Eastern Conference finals," said Shumpert, when asked his minimum expectations for the Knicks this postseason. “We knew we were supposed to go farther and we didn’t.”
Shumpert, who spoke barely above a whisper during his session, seemed wise beyond his years when discussing the current state — and forthcoming prospects — of the Knicks.
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He thinks the unevenness of the collective effort from game to game caused his team’s early exit.
“We just have to hold each other accountable. Come next year, little things like not playing hard should never come into play. Letting a game slip at home should never come into play. Getting beat on the boards when that’s an emphasis coming into a series should never happen,” Shumpert said. “We have to take care of the little things and we didn’t. And it caught up to us.”
Shumpert’s veteran teammates didn’t sound as pessimistic about the Knicks’ season or their fortune going forward. To a man, every other veteran who was allowed to speak towed the company line in saying they believe this season was basically a trial run considering it was the first time this unit played together.
“I’m going to say it was a great year. It was a great year, great run. Definitely a huge step from years in the past, [and] something to build on,” Raymond Felton said. “Definitely not satisfying but, you know [we] can’t really be too upset. I think we had a great year overall. We did a lot of special things this year. So all this is about now is just capitalizing and building on it.”
Perhaps Felton’s optimism should be taken with a grain of salt, considering the point guard actually felt he had a “pretty good performance in the playoffs.”
But Carmelo Anthony essentially agreed with Felton’s outlook that the Knicks can still contend, and thinks the future is bright.
“We’re right there, I mean we’re right there,” Anthony said. “When you recap this whole season, it’s just some detail-oriented things that we kind of got to fix. ... I don’t think we underachieved. We made strides forward. We made huge steps. When I first got here in New York, I always said this was a process, [and that] this was going to take two to three years. This was the first year the pieces to the puzzle started to fall into place. ... We’ve set a standard, [and] kind of teased the city of New York a little bit, because now everybody expects us to play at this high level. Eventually something has to happen. We want to win the championship, that’s the goal, and we’re going to keep striving for that. I feel very confident about that.”
Knicks notes ...
» Shumpert said the coaches want him to play in Las Vegas summer league, and added he’s excited about doing so because he desires to be “under coaching and under coach’s wing” all summer. It’ll be the first time he’s done so since he missed his rookie campaign (lockout) and last season’s (ACL injury) summer league.
» Among the players who didn't speak to the media today were J.R. Smith, Amar’e Stoudemire and Jason Kidd. The Knicks brass, however, will allow Woodson and team president Glen Grunwald speak with the media on Tuesday.
» Anthony admitted that he will have his left shoulder checked out and see what kind of therapy and rehab it needs. Anthony also declined to look ahead at what he’ll do next season in regard to his opt-out clause at the end of next season, because it would be “selfish” to think about that scenario and didn’t want to “jump the gun.”
» Chris Copeland said he wants to come back next season, and will be twisting in the wind until the Knicks decide what to do with the 29-year-old rookie. The team must make him a qualifying offer by June 30.
Follow Knicks beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.