Twenty-four hours ago, I had not watched one minute of Iman Shumpert basketball. That was probably irresponsible on my part, because he had been the Knicks’ selection in mock drafts by the experts all across the board.
That’s in the past now though, and I’ll remind all of you that the college game is painstakingly difficult to watch. Just think of Butler and UConn going blow for blow for 40 minutes. Painful basketball. In any event, the most important thing to take away from last night is that Iman Shumpert is a New York Knickerbocker.
In fact, my actual reaction was not, “Who is this Iman Shumpert?” rather, “Let’s see what we got here.” Yesterday, I spent the day researching who the Knicks had actually chosen. And I was surprised. Happily surprised.
In the past hours since the selection, I’ve made what strides I could in figuring out who the heck he really is. What his tendencies are, what he excels at. That type of stuff. I’m no scout, and I’ve certainly watched less of him than the Knicks brass who selected him. So please, correct me where I am wrong and take what I write with a grain of salt.
However, with all of that being said, here are my findings on what is the Knicks’ seventeenth selection in the 2011 NBA Draft:
- Iman Shumpert is excellent on defense. Let’s get that out of the way first because that’s the reason the Knicks chose him in the first place. Unfortunately for this Georgia Tech product, he’s going to be given the tough challenge of guarding the most versatile, quickest, and all-around offensive player from the opposing team. That means going up against the likes of Dwayne Wade, Rajon Rondo, or Derrick Rose every single night.
- Iman Shumpert struggles on the offensive end. This is important because it gives Knicks fans some insight toward the brain of Mike D’Antoni. Alan Hahn reported last night that the head coach was actually the one to sign off on the player of choice. While MD’A is known for his offensive tendencies, he has been somewhat in-tune to his defensive senses.
- Iman Shumpert is tall, but short enough to stick to multiple positions. It goes hand in hand with the first bullet point but it still needs to be harped upon. Shumpert is 6’6” in sneakers and describes himself as a “gym rat”. I’m just praying he maintains that mantra throughout his NBA career.
- Iman Shumpert shot 40.6% last season. This fact seems to to be a topic of concern among Knicks fans however I think I have a decent explanation: Georgia Tech was a poor team last year and their scorers were nonexistent. They needed to rely on decent enough players to handle the rock and Shumpert was just that, decent enough to get by. So they put the ball in his hands too much and he likely took too many shots for his own good. That’s alright for the Knicks, particularly with Stoudemire and Anthony running the show and taking up the majority of the shots, the team will only need Shumpert to fill his role.
- Iman Shumpert has Russell Westbrook potential. Okay, this may be somewhat of an overstatement, but the truth is, the only thing missing from him really developing into a real talented player is an effective shot and a few offensive tools.
Additional Reading on Iman Shumpert
- Prospect Profile – DraftExpress
- Prospect Profile – Knicks.com
- Knicks take a shot on Iman Shumpert – Chris Sheridan – ESPN
- Walsh defends precarious decision on Shumpert – Alan Hahn – The Knicks Fix
- TKBtv: Draft Reaction (Video) – The Knicks Blog
- How Do Shumpert and Jorts Fit the Knicks? – Seth Rosenthal – NY Magazine
- Shumpert, Leslie, Thompkins take next step – Daniel Shirley – Macon.com
- The Draft Dust Has Settled – KnickScoop.com