Iman Shumpert: Knicks Guard Inexplicably Left off Team USA Minicamp Roster

Thomas Duffy@@TJDhoopsFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2013

May 5, 2013; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks small forward Iman Shumpert (21) looks on before the first half of game one of the second round of the NBA Playoffs against the Indiana Pacers. Pacers won the game 102-95. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Iman Shumpert is one of the best young players in the NBA.

One day, the New York Knicks guard will blossom into a bona fide star. For some reason, however, Shumpert was left off of the list of players that will be reporting to Team USA’s minicamp in September to vie for a spot on the national team next summer in the World Championships.

Here’s the full roster (via CBS Sports):

Ryan Anderson (New Orleans Pelicans)
Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors)
Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies)
DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)
Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)
Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)
Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets)
Derrick Favors (Utah Jazz)
Paul George (Indiana Pacers)
Taj Gibson (Chicago Bulls)
Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz)
Jrue Holiday (Philadelphia 76ers)
DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers)
Ty Lawson (Denver Nuggets)
Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs)
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
Greg Monroe (Detroit Pistons)
Chandler Parsons (Houston Rockets)
Larry Sanders (Milwaukee Bucks)
Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
Dion Waiters (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats)
John Wall (Washington Wizards)
Tyler Zeller (Cleveland Cavaliers)

I can pick out only a handful of players that I would consider truly better than Shump: Kyrie Irving, Paul George, Jrue Holiday and John Wall. That’s it.

Was assistant coach Tom Thibodeau consulted in making these selections, or was it just head coach Mike Krzyzewski who called the shots? Being such a defensive-minded coach, one would have to think the guy in charge of the hard-nosed Chicago Bulls would want one of the best perimeter defenders in the league on the roster.  

The only feasible excuse for Shumpert’s absence from the minicamp is the fact that he just returned from a torn ACL this season after tearing it in the 2012 playoffs. The second-year guard struggled to find his rhythm initially, but he showed glimpses of stardom in the 2013 postseason.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo has left the door open for Shumpert and Stephen Curry, who exploded in the playoffs into a legitimate NBA star, to join the team later on.

Among the notable missing names were Golden State’s Steph Curry and the New York Knicks’ Iman Shumpert. Both are dealing with physical issues and were told to heal up and try and be available for next summer.

“Just because someone’s not here this year doesn’t mean they’re eliminated from the picture,” Colangelo said. “As you know, this is a very fluid process. Players come and go for a variety of reasons. But we like the group we’re bringing in to Las Vegas next month. They fit what we’re looking for, both on and off the court, and they’re excited to be here. So we’re already two for two.”

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Shumpert threw down one of the most memorable dunks of the year and shot 52.6 percent from three-point territory against the Boston Celtics in the opening round of the playoffs. Against the Indiana Pacers, the Georgia Tech product poured in 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting, though he couldn’t prevent his Knicks from elimination at the hands of George and Roy Hibbert.

Next season, Shumpert will look to take another step towards improving and become the Knicks' second option behind Carmelo Anthony, as reported by Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York.

The 22-year-old came off an impressive playoff run just a few months after returning from a left ACL repair, and coach Mike Woodson said Tuesday, "The sky's the limit for that young man."

Even when Shumpert was missing shots in the postseason, he was making up for it consistently with his defense and rebounding -- something J.R. Smith was not doing regularly. While Smith has All-Star scoring potential, he needs shots to go down for him to care more about defense and intangibles. Shumpert, however, is always hungry to guard the best scorer and make the small, significant play.

Shumpert has a ton of room for growth and will become a better player than he already is over the next few seasons. It would’ve been nice to see his efforts rewarded with an invite to the Team USA minicamp, but all he can do is continue to work towards bettering himself for the team that really matters—the Knicks.


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