6’6”, 220 lb., 20-year-old point guards don’t grow on trees, and reading recent scouting reports from the NBA combine, it’s hard not get at least a little excited about Georgia Tech draftee Iman Shumpert.
Lots of debate has been had about what the Knicks need — either in free agency or via the upcoming draft — but there can be little discussion about the fact that New York needs size, defense and cheap talent with upside.
Per our friends at DraftExpress.com:
Iman Shumpert stole the show at the combine, looking like clearly the most physically gifted player in this entire draft class. [His] 42’ max vertical leap ranks just as high in our historical database as his no-step vertical—tied for the best result in the last seven years. He’s an inch behind Vince Carter’s mark from 1998 and just an inch and a half behind Nate Robinson’s 2004 leap. That’s not too shabby for a 6’6-225 pound point guard—and one reason why NBA teams are beginning (or rather continuing) to think long and hard about just how high his long-term ceiling might be.
Umm, yes please!
Shumpert, by all accounts, also plays better-than-average defense, and his almost 6’10” wingspan suggests he might be able to to annoy the like of Ray Allen, Dwyane Wade, etc.
So what’s not to like? Basically, the kid can’t shoot. Yet.
Just a 41% shooter last season in college (28% from beyond the arc), no one is going to mistake Shumpert for Deron Williams. That said, he does hit his free throws (80%), and he has shown an ability to rebound (5.9 per game).
Sure, Mike D’Antoni’s system needs as many marksmen as possible to work, but there’s a lot to like here from a talent perspective, and shooting form, accuracy, and therefore efficiency can be coached. After all, offense is Mr. Mustache’s forte, is it not?
The Knicks can grab whatever non-elite big man falls to them at #17 in the first round, or they can hope that a flawed player like Jimmer Fredette isn’t snatched up by the Utah Jazz — he will be — but it just seems to me that a defensive player with unparalleled physical gifts at his position is just the sort of blank canvas that New York needs during this critical off-season.
Sadly, the more attention Shumpert gets, the more likely it is that other teams ponder his potential, so let’s just hope that no one reads this.
No one other than Donnie Walsh and D’Antoni, that is.