The New York Knicks spent their first round pick in June’s draft on Georgia Tech’s junior point guard Iman Shumpert. Since the NBA locked out their players days after the draft, Knick fans have no idea what to expect from the 21 year old. Granted most New Yorkers (including myself) were salivating when Chris Singleton was still available when the number 17 pick rolled around, however the Knicks choose to take the defensive minded point guard instead. Since bitterness doesn’t buy baskets, we may as well put dreams of Singleton on the back-burner and get to know Ourman Iman.
Conspiracy theorists may jump to the conclusion that the optimal reason the Knicks took Shumpert is because he shares an agent with Amar’e Stoudemire, but so far the Happy Walters connection might be the best thing possible. be helping the Word is that both Walters and Stoudemire have been texting and calling Shumpert on the reg, making sure he is working out and playing ball to get ready for the season.
At 6’6’’ the Knicks and new defensive coordinator Mike Woodson are hoping Shumpert quickly evolves into a player who can be a lock-down defender capable of shutting down three positions in the NBA. With team defense not exactly being a focal point under Mike D’Antoni in the past, Shumpert was selected specifically to be a defensive spark for the Knicks.
“I think the way I play defense is contagious.” Shumpert told HoopsHype.com blogger Raul Barrigon, “That’s something I always bring to the table. I play both sides of the court hard.”
If he can infect some of the elder statesmen on the Knicks with contagious D then New York should be looking at a top seed in the Eastern Conference. As an individual he will be given every chance to succeed.
Offensively, Shumpert will need to do next to nothing except find Stat & Melo as often, and as quickly, as possible.
Shumpert admits he needs to make better decisions on the floor, but next year the only real choice he will need to make is whether he should pass off to Carmelo Anthony or Amar’e Stoudemire.
In my opinion the best thing Shumpert can do for the orange and blue is get out to a quick start so the Knicks can use him as a bargaining chip to bring in Dwight Howard or Chris Paul. But if he does have a long tenure with the Knicks that will be okay too, as long as he evolves into the shut down perimeter defender he is hoping to become and is able to pick-up a thing or two from all-time-great point guard Chauncey Billups.
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