Iman Shumpert has been one of the biggest surprises from this past year’s draft.
When the Knicks selected Shumpert with the 17th pick in the 1st round, the Knicks fans in attendance at the Prudential Center that night were outraged. Many of them had never heard of the PG from Georgia Tech and weren’t happy that the Knicks didn’t even select a player who was on Jay Bilas’ Top 10 Best Players Available list.
Shumpert has impressed everyone with his play so far this season, even though he sprained his MCL in the first game of the season and needed to sit out the next four. After coming back from injury, Shumpert earned a spot in the starting line up in only his fourth career NBA game.
His biggest impact so far has been his superb defense. Shumpert’s averaging 2.4 spg, which is only behind Chris Paul for second in the NBA. He has locked down opposing team’s point guards and has forced many turnovers so far this season.
Unlike his defense, no one was sure what Shumpert would bring to the team on offense. Everyone knew he was extremely athletic, but it was a mystery as to if Shumpert would be able to run the PG for a team with two stars in Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire.
Shumpert’s proved he can do it though, and has been great at distributing the ball and keeping the offense flowing. He is second on the team in assists with 3.4 per game, and Shumpert has excelled at driving into the paint and then finding open teammates when the defense needed to rotate to stop him.
Shumpert is also scoring a lot, even with Carmelo and Amar’e both averaging at least 19 ppg. Shumpert is averaging 12.6 ppg, which third for all rookies this season. He has been hitting open shots when he gets them in rotation and scoring at the bucket when he gets into the paint. Shump has proven he can create his own shot, even when being guarded tightly.
Iman Shumpert’s presence has definitely been felt so far this season on offense and defense, but he is still extremely young and will only improve as he continues to play a significant role for this Knicks team.