Disclaimer: This piece is more of a sentimental timeline more than it is a statistical analysis of his game so it’s light on stats (read: no numbers or facts! woooo!) and there isn’t really an argument presented or anything. I split it up into sections of the season so it’s easier on the eyes (I’m still figuring out the formatting on Fan Posts). Feel free to read on! *If the .gifs are slow to load just open in new tab.*
What will Shump become? What is his ceiling? Will his flat top puncture that ceiling? First, let’s take a look back at his journey and how Shump has grown and matured before our eyes.
"With the 17th pick in the draft, the New York Knicks select, Iman Shumpert from Georgia Tech!" Frustrated Knicks fans hoping to hear the names of more heralded prospects Chris Singleton or Kenneth Faried, react to the announcement with boos and jeers while leaving at least one Knick fan watching at home wondering, ImWho ShaWhat? Some overseas project over Singleton? The defensive hero Gotham deserves AND needs right now? But none of that matters for Shump because he isn’t even there to hear it. He’s back home in Chicago watching the draft on TV with intense focus, surrounded by a room full of family and friends. "With the 17th pick in the draft, the New York Knicks select, Iman Shumpert from Georgia Tech!" The room explodes in celebration drowning out the TV and what seems like all of Chicago while Iman drops his head between his arms and into his lap as his loved ones all crowd around him in a joyous delirium. Still in disbelief, the newest Knick can’t contain his emotions half as well as he contains college guards and the tears of the overwhelmed rookie stream down his cheeks. This kid’s emotion is powerful and sincere as he begins his journey with one of the NBA’s most insane and entertaining franchises, the New York Knickerbockers...
Shump having a moment
The first NBA action for the freshly knicknamed Shump revealed to the team and its fans that his game was as raw as his emotions. In a Christmas game against the evil green soul sucking Celtics, Shump came off the bench to illustrate exactly what every NBA rookie combo guard looks like in their first game as the Knicks sought to avenge the playoff sweep they incurred at the slimy deformed goblin hands of Pierce, KG, Allen, and alien point guard Rondo. He missed easy drives, took bad shots, missed bad shots, and turned the ball over while showing flashes of elite athleticism and defense playing aggressively and providing unbridled energy en route to a 4-13 performance and a Knick’s win. Kevin Garnett, unsurprisingly topped the mean spirited antics of infamous Christmas villains Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch with an uncalled for choke on Billy Walker as the game ended. Meanwhile, Toney Douglas was quickly taking a baseball bat to hope and beating it under the floor of the Garden. That's when D'Antoni decided to give Shump a shot at running the offense. Holy Shump! The game that stands out the most in my memory of his early starts was a matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies in mid January. The game was essentially called as a two part harmony where Marv would chuckle "he sure likes to shoot!" which was followed up by 128 exaggerated "ARE YOU KIDDING MEs?" sung through the fish lips of the insufferable Reggie Miller. Shump proceeded to DWTDD by clanking ill advised shots earlier and earlier into the shot clock until he mercifully stopped shooting. It was as if Shump spent the entire game stuck in a flashback to his GA Tech days where he was the man, only this time he equated being "the man" in the NBA to Michael Jordan. He finished with 12 points on 5-20 (3-15 in the 1st half) shooting more than Melo and STAT combined (Woah!) Shump admitted on Twitter that he pretty much did the opposite of what a point guard should do which was a refreshing display of humility and self-awareness that served as a clear reminder that he had a lot to learn and he was willing to learn it. That game sparked a horrendous 11 out of 13 game losing stretch in which he defended well but struggled to run the offense, leading up to one of the craziest runs in NBA history...
During the worldwide phenomenon now known as Linsanity, Shumpert was a Linstant spark on defense, contributing to the Linning streak by steaLin and balLin in the clutch...Lin. He didn’t shoot well, but he was freed from the burden of handling the ball and was more than content to take a backseat in Secretariats carriage. When Linsanity died down with the Linjury, Shump went through the rest of the regular season showing flashes of star potential while locking mofos down and striking fear in the hearts of those who dare challenged the Shumpertooth Tiger (and doin’ it in awesome bright orange kicks). One memorable highlight was his windmill dunk up 40 against the Blazers in Woody’s first game as head coach, a dunk so vicious it melted Raymond Felton’s Portland jersey off his back and sent him
flying sliding back to MSG. Most importantly, he created the undisputed greatest .gif in the history of the internet when he went up on KG and "just dunked on him and got a tech" -Shump.
He ended the regular season on the all-rookie first team and even got a vote for ROY! It was a promising start to his NBA career and he had already established himself as a fan favorite...
Then the playoffs started. After having unceremoniously scrapped their way to the 7th seed, New York had a date with the evil empire themselves, the Miami Heat. Game 1 was a flop. Literally. Lebron deserved an Oscar. Everything that could go wrong for the New York Knicks, went wrong with the New York Knicks, from the officiating to the injuries. The excitement of the NBA playoffs was stopped dead in its tracks as Knicks fans witnessed one of the more heartbreaking basketball moments in recent history as Shump suddenly collapsed on his knee and unable to walk, had to be carried off the floor by fellow youngsters Josh Harrellson and Jerome Jordan. New York’s beloved guard was done for a while. Everyone’s worst fears were confirmed. The New York Times solemnly titled article read "Knee Injury Ends Shumpert’s Season." ACL tear out 6-8 months. My heart sank to my stomach knowing that I would have to wait an eternity to see the rookie who had grown to become my favorite Knicks player. Melo’s heroic efforts to engage the MILPCAT brought a win and a little satisfaction, but Mike Bibby’s corpse was our starting point guard for game 5 goddamn it! 2012! Mike Bibby! But after going through a wild lockout-shortened season with no training camp, two coaches, Linsanity, and the equivalent of the black plague for knees, Shump could mentally regroup and focus on his rehab without any distractions...
Wrong. Even with sparse cap space, the Knicks used their offseason to replace pretty much everyone aside from the big 3. Gone were Shump’s young backcourt buddies and in came ancient players that were legitimately old enough to be Shump’s father. Like, Shump might have heard about their playing days from his father or grandfather. He probably collected their basketball cards...(am I the only one who had basketball cards? Yeah...Oh.) The Knicks managed to compile the oldest roster in the league, leaving Shump about 7 years younger than the next youngest guy on the roster...who was a rookie...7 years younger than the other rookie...(Woah!) Shump embraced the changes and kept a positive attitude through his recovery until it was his turn to ride in the rumor mill. His name was thrown around as part of a package to trade the Suns for Nash as part of the Knick’s desire to throw together a backcourt capable of telepathically controlling a basketball into the hoop. Shump managed to survive the dawn of the dead and stay in New York as his contract was extended for at least another year...
The 2012-2013 season started out as a euphoric bizarro fantasy where Ronnie Brewer hit threes, Jason Kidd was alive, and Melo was in the zone aka Nigeria every single game. Instead of sitting back as a passive observer of this success, Shump asserted himself as the heart and soul of the team. He wanted to be a part of the team success and he was genuinely happy that they were succeeding despite not being able to take the court himself. His charisma was infectious and he would come up with the team’s unofficial slogan that would be attached to the most successful Knick season since the Ewing era: #Knickstape, the epitome of team chemistry. He also grew out a flat top that made Norris Cole and Nerlens Noel shiver in fear while garnering a brief acknowledgement from Woody’s beard AND released a surprisingly decent rap mixtape while continuing to work his way back...
When phase one of the Re-Shumpification was finally complete and he was ready to take the floor, he was stepping into one of the weirdest spans of the season. Amar’e was back, James White and Cope were getting random starts, Ronnie Brewer was out of the rotation, Ray was working off rust, and on top of that he had never played with any of them (besides Amar’e). He slowly worked his legs back under him. He was hesitant, couldn’t get enough lift to finish at the rim, and looked lost on defense. After spending a month as Woody’s verbal punching bag for blown defensive rotations, he adjusted his game to fit the offense like a true team player and showed strides with his 3 point shot and shot selection. However, less than a month after coming back, the trade winds were a-blowin’ while he was still playing off the rust. Jared Dudley can contribute NOW! JJ Redick makes the Knick’s contenders! Can’t be waiting for Shump! WIN NOW! A distraction for even the most seasoned veterans let alone a guy who only played 82 games, Shump handled the situation like the class act he is and although his play suffered a bit, he gave his best to the team all through the trade rumors...
Eventually the playoffs rolled around and Shump took on the unenviable task of locking down Pierce and Green and did a fantastic job of pestering them into turnovers. He looked like the old Shump again. After tasting the Celtic’s tears of unfathomable sadness, it was time to prepare for the Pacers, continuing our spring tour of abhorrent franchises. In the series against Indiana, Shump was one of the few bright spots for the Knicks. He rebounded at an elite rate for a guard, he played strong perimeter defense, knocked down his threes, and did this.
Personally watched over 243 times
He was the best player not named Melo for the whole series. His will to win was most evident in game 6 in Indiana. Feeling the game slip away from them, Shumpert went on a one man three point shooting spree in the most electrifying way possible to get New York the lead. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough but the heart, leadership, and winning attitude that was displayed in that game is what makes Shump so special. I hope he stays a Knick for life.
That’s just my timeline and reflection on Shump’s career to this point. I decided to write this because I’m bored of draft talk and I miss seeing this man on the court. Hopefully Shump continues to grow and add new dimensions to his game and his storytelling (he’s got the whole third person point of view down, next up first person pronouns?). He’s a hard worker and a fierce competitor so I feel confident that he is trying his best to improve and as I’ve mentioned on other posts, I hope it’s his passing. Anyone who doesn’t believe he can become a facilitator, I direct your attention to the following:
Can Nash do this? I didn't think so.
Nash: ...Well can you do this?
Shump: Watch Shump's arms, you can't touch this.