(Belated) Know the Prospect: Iman Shumpert

P&T, I am terribly sorry.  There is really no excuse for this Know the Prospect not getting done before last night's draft.  I could give you a string of excuses like "I started my internships!" or "I went into a coma from laughing so hard at the P&T Report Cards!" but that's not my style.  I screwed up!  I started the profile on June 7th for crying out loud, and it turned out to be the most important profile of them all.  With the 17th pick, our New York Knicks selected Iman Shumpert out of Georgia Tech.  If you will oblige, I will post the finished product for you all.  Read it as if we were scouting him before the draft, and then you can all stone me to death at a date of your choosing.  Jump.

Iman Asante Shumpert is a junior point guard for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (hey, I'm pretty sure an ostrich that's in the NBA used to go there...).  Shumpert decided to forego his senior season at GT for the opportunity to play in the NBA.  Shumpert had a great junior season, but his NBA prospects are still a bit unclear.  Is he a super-big/athletic point guard?  Is he a super-athletic shooting guard that isn't very good at shooting?  What exactly is Shumpert in the NBA?  Let's try and find out.

The run-down:

Measurements:  Shumpert has great size for a 1 or a 2, if you're still into numerical positions.  He stands at 6' 4.5" w/o shoes, 6' 5.5" with shoes on, and weighs 222 pounds.  He has a wingspan of 6' 9.5", a standing reach of 8' 3.5", a standing vert of 36.5" and a max vert of 42".  Draft Express said he "stole the show" at the combine.

Projected Draft Position (as of right now):  22 on DraftExpress.com, 48 on NBADraft.net, doesn't show up much elsewhere.

Actual Profiles and Such:  DraftExpress.comNBADraft.netStatSheetESPNGeorgia Tech Player Profile.

Amateur Take - Offense:  I didn't watch a single Georgia Tech game, so this is pretty much all going to come from stats and the DraftExpress profile from the middle of this season.  Shooting isn't really Iman's thing from what I've found.  He shot at a 40% clip from the field last season, and just 28% from three-point range.  When you look at the tape, his form doesn't look all that bad.  It seems like something he could improve on with practice/better shot selection.  He did improve his free throw shooting at Georgia Tech, turning a nasty 65% his freshman year into a nice 80% last year as a junior.  I like Iman's size for the position, and if he spells Billups/Douglas at the point or Fields at the other wing, he has the size and athleticism to get to the rack.  He could stand to improve his dribbling, though, but the fact he handled Georgia Tech's offense for three years has to count for something, right?

And the guy can score.  He led Georgia Tech in scoring with over 17.3 PPG last year.  He also scored in double figures in all but two games last year, and had a beastly triple-double of 22 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists against Virginia Tech while holding their star, Malcolm Delaney, to 8 points and 8 turnovers.  

His assists were a career-low 3.5 per game last season, down from nearly 5 a game as a freshman.  Why the drastic drop?  He was "the guy" for the Yellow Jackets.  The offense went through him instead of guys like Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal, so he took more shots.  He took 14 shots a game last year, way up from 9 the previous two seasons.  His turnovers dropped to under three a game in his junior year, which is an optimistic sign.  But one would expect an increase in assists to accompany a decrease in turnovers... truly this is a paradox.  Or he just makes poor decisions.

Amateur Take - Defense: Defense is this man's calling card.  Iman can legitimately guard 1's and 2's (and maybe even 3's) at the next level, and his size, length, and athleticism all are great assets to have on the defensive end.  Shumpert averaged 2.7 steals a game last year, good for tops in the ACC and seventh in the country.  He can also rebound well for a guard.  He averaged 5.9 a game, including over 4 of those on the defensive end.  Remember that gnat Rajon Rondo and all those offensive rebounds he was getting?  Hopefully Iman would be able to put a stop to that.

Iman has even recognized by higher authorities for his work on the defensive end.  He was named to the ACC's All-Defensive team his junior year.  In what I'm sure is being recognized as a huge error, his defensive efforts were overlooked by these same authorities during his first two years.  Defense is the main driving factor if you're thinking about drafting this cat, and Lord knows the Knicks need defense.

Comparisons: Draft Express likens him to a tall Kyle Lowry as the best-case scenario and Keyon Dooling as a worst-case scenario.  NBADraft.net compares him to Javaris Crittenton and Terrence Williams.  Take those for what they are worth. 

The Clyde Factor: This could be one of the strongest Clyde Factors to date.  If he screws up, an exasperated Clyde could say, "OH-Man!"  If he displayed brute strength, "Iman becomes He-Man!"  Of course, Clyde will botch this name.  Earman Shampoo is the pronunciation I'm hoping for (fingers crossed!).

Potpourri:

  • I already mentioned it, but the guy's middle name is Asante.  Let's not forget this.
  • If you want a signed photo of the Yellow Jacket, it will only cost you $40!
  • He led Georgia Tech in points, rebounds, assists, and steals last season.  He's only the fourth ACC player to ever do that.
  • Iman likes creative writing and broadcast journalism.  Hey, me too!
  • He was a McDonald's High School All American back in 2008.  There are a bunch of familiar names on those rosters too...
  • His agent is Happy Walters.  We know who else is represented by Mr. Walters... Anthony Mason Jr.!

Let's go to the video:

 

Iman Shumpert Draft Combine Interview (via DraftExpress)

Iman Shumpert - Georgia Tech (via charlescaras333)

Iman Shumpert 2011 NBA Draft: Strengths and Weaknesses (via TheMikeSchmitz)

Things to take away:

 

  • He can finish at the rim, uses his body well and can score with both hands around the basket.
  • He likes to finish at the rim, we get it.
  • Like I said, the shot doesn't look all that bad.  I'm sure his form could be tweaked a little bit, and you definitely just need to focus on shot selection and shot volume with him once he gets to the next level.
  • He seems well-spoken, and that's always something I look for in a prospect.
  • The defense section of that final video gives you an idea of the impact Shumpert can have on defense right away. 

 

Final Thoughts (in hindsight): Knowing everything we now know, I can't say definitively whether Iman Shumpert was the right pick at #17.  Right now, I do like the pick.  I was a little disappointed my man crush Kenneth Faried wasn't selected, and Chris Singleton would have been another intriguing option if defense was the goal.  But Shumpert will provide defense in the back court in a more natural way than Landry Fields, who is really a forward doing an impression of a shooting guard.  I'm excited to see what Shumpert can do, how he improves over the course of the season, if we HAVE a season, and what his addition does for our defense.

Shumpert can fit with this roster.  He can spell at the 1/2, play defense at the 1/2, and his offense and decision making will improve as he works with a professional coaching staff.  Or, he is Renaldo Balkman 2.0, someone taken ahead of his projection that could have been had later while using 17 to get another player. But I don't even have a problem with that (Renaldo has been looking for a new roommate, so it works out perfectly!).  Shumpert isn't a sexy pick, it's not a sentimental pick like Faried would have been, it's a need-based pick to try and shore up the defense.  He isn't going to have to do a bulk of the scoring anyway with guys like Amar'e and Melo around, but I'm sure he could score with the second unit if he had to.  Bottom line: let's see the kid play and give him the benefit of the doubt until then.  Let's all hope he pans out!  And before you guys stone me, I want to thank you all for reading my prospect profiles over the past month and a half or so.  I love you all.  Give some of your love to Iman, and be gentle!

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