My thoughts on the Knicks Selection of Iman Shumpert (You May Be Surprised)
By Guest Blogger Howard Ticker:
I’m not going to lie, when I first heard the Knicks selected guard Iman Shumpert from Georgia Tech with the 17th pick in the NBA draft, I was very upset.
Personally, I wanted Chris Singleton and was very shocked they passed up on him. Singleton is a 6 foot 9, 230 pound forward who can defend 3 positions. He was also on the All-Defensive team his final two years at Florida State. Of course, Singleton went the next pick to the Washington Wizards.
Shumpert is four inches shorter, 20 pounds lighter, and not as strong. No surprise, after Shumpert’s name was called the Knicks fans booed.
However, in terms of need, they drafted a kid with size, the ability to play both guard positions and someone who enjoys playing defense. Something most Knicks players cannot do. The Knicks ranked 28th in league in defense, allowing 105.7 points per game. A defensive stopper is exactly what they need as the team tries to become a legitimate championship contender.
This is exactly what I want to hear until I heard what Washington Wizards General Manager and President Ernie Grunfeld said about Singleton. “We like Chris. We like his energy, enthusiasm and competitiveness. We thought he was one of the best defensive perimeter players in college basketball last year. He’s big. He’s strong. He’s long and he’s very active. He can guard multiple positions. We didn’t think he’d be there at 18, but we’re glad he was.” A lot of analyst and scouts believe he may be the steal of the draft.
After the draft, many NBA scouts said Shumpert still hasn’t shown he is a true point guard, and some even had him in the second round. So what do I think of this pick after hearing that?
I hate it, so I did some research on this guy until I liked it.
I like what Coach Mike D’Antoni said about him. He said he has shut down defense and could stay in front of the 3 best players in the world in Derrick Rose, Dwayane Wade, and Lebron James. Say what!? If this is true I’ll take him.
He has freak athleticism with a 42 inch vertical and a wingspan of nearly 7 feet. He shot lights out in his pre draft work out and D’Antoni liked his shooting stroke. “He had one of the best workouts that I’ve seen in a lot of years. He’s a little bit of everything. He can play point, he can play the 2, he can guard some 3s. He’s an exciting young man. His personality and his ability to work hard are big factors, and we’re excited about having him.”
Another bright side is he can come in and give our guards a rest and take some pressure off our other players with his defensive ability. He should play at times with Chauncey Billups to give Landry Fields (another surprising pick which had a great rookie season) a rest. Fields is expected to be the Knicks starting shooting guard this season. With Shumpert mainly playing point guard, Toney Douglas will be able to stay at shooting guard. He thrived towards the end of the year last year as shooting guard instead of point guard. Shumpert said, “Those guys being able to score the ball like that, I don’t think they should have to play all the defense, too. The first thing I’m going to do is come in and defend people, take pressure off peoples’ legs.” I love that he said this because he can also take the pressure off Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire on defense at times with his length, athleticism, and long arms. Thinking about it now, I do like the pick. When the Knicks were on the clock they could choose from Shumpert and Singleton. Both of which are very athletic defensive specialist. It was smarter for them to go for a defensive-minded guard over a defensive-minded forward because he wouldn’t be able to get as much playing time behind Anthony and Stoudemire. D’Anthoni said, “Singleton is more of a 3, 4 and I think we have two pretty good players there. When it’s kind of a toss-up, you look at the Knicks and what serves them better. We thought that a guy that could defend the 1, 2 and some 3 was better. That’s hard to find.”
So okay coach D’Antoni. I think you did a good job of convincing me he was the right pick over Singleton. I hope you are right. The Knicks, who never have had trouble putting the ball in the basket should have no problem with a guy who averaged 2.87 steals a game at Georgia Tech, eighth-best in the NCAA.