Knicks love Iman Shumpert
Iman Shumpert 6-6 combo guard and lock down defender out of Georgia Tech chosen by the Knicks 17th overall in the NBA draft. With Chauncey Billups gone, Shumpert will be a major fixture in the Knicks lineup as a rookie.
Shumpert was all over the board in the mock drafts. Projected by some to go lottery and others to fall deep into the second round. Usually one can form a general consensus on where a player might be drafted, but Shumpert was a mystery up until Stern called his name at 17.
Hailing from the Chicago area, Iman was a two time all-state selection, a McDonald’s All-American and a top 20 player in the class of 08. At Georgia Tech he started all three seasons. Last year he led the team in scoring, rebounds, and assists becoming only the fourth player in ACC history to do so. He averaged a remarkable 2.7 steals a game on top of that.
When Shumpert hired an agent in May he was considered a second round pick and many felt he should have returned to school to play out his senior season. There were even talks that he could go undrafted.
Then came the Chicago draft combine. Shumpert showed up and posted a 42” vertical leap and was one of the fastest players at the camp. Workouts don’t necessarily equal on-court success but nobody could deny that he was a workout-warrior. His jumper also looked much improved and gms started to realize he was a better shooter than projected. The scouts were drooling and his stock soared.
This guy is a lock-down defender that can guard positions 1-3 on the court. He is long, fast and athletic. If there’s one thing that the Knicks need… it’s defense. While he was often criticized in college for his inconsistent offensive game nobody ever denied that he was a world-class defender. There will be no pressure on him to score in NY with Stat and Melo on the roster. He is able to play both guard positions and will flourish in the open court. He has nice court vision, rebounds at a high level, and has just turned 21 years of age. He stands 6-5 and weighs 220, very nice size for a guy who can play the point. Anybody can look good on a highlight reel but take one look at his and your jaw drops. World class athlete.
There are a couple reasons to be skeptical. Shumpert never played on a good team at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jacket’s record in his three years on the team was 48-50. He had two of the best big men in the country in Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal and the team finished 23-13 overall 7-9 in ACC play and lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The other two years he was at GT the team finished below .500 each year and failed to do any damage in the ACC or anywhere else. He was always turnover prone during his college career.
My final verdict is that this was a good pick for the Knicks. His lack of winning at the college level has mostly to do with Paul Hewitt being a bad coach. Shumpert brings something to the Knicks that they desperately need, a lock-down perimeter defender. The Knicks fell to the Celtics in the playoffs and had Iman been on the team last season, he could have been used to put the clamps on Ray Allen. Shumpert has the opportunity to make a serious bid for playing time next season. He shows ferocity on defense, he’s long, fast, and versatile. Welcome to NY, Iman. Hope you can handle the lights.