NBA Draft Central
Iman Shumpert – PG/SG
Projected: Late 1st Round/Mid 2nd Round
2010-11 Stats: 17.3 pts, 5.9 reb, 3.5 ast, 2.7 stl, 0.2 blk, 40.6% FG, 80.6% FT, 27.8% 3-PT, 1.23 PPS
Iman Shumpert is not your average lead guard. With a 42″ vertical leap and a fluid ability to create offense and dominate defensively he is one of the most intriguing potential draftees in all of the 2011 NBA class.
The 6-foot-6 inch floor general led the Yellow Jackets last season in minutes, points, rebounds, assists and steals. To call him a do-everything type player would definitely be a bit of an understatement.
However, the main reason Shumpert is viewed with such intrigue around the Association is based on his ability to potentially compete at the next level defensively. Although he ran the show for the Yellow Jackets’ offense his most glaring asset coming right into the NBA stands to be his ability to stay in front of speedy NBA point guards and shooting guards, possibly even battle some small forwards at the next level depending on the matchup.
Shumpert averaged 2.7 steals per game during the 2010-11 collegiate season. He seems to have an uncanny knack for deflecting passes and irritating post and perimeter offensive players with his active hands. He is almost cat-like with his anticipation and reflexes around the ball on defense.
The Illinois-native is also quite the rebounder for a player whose game starts out on the perimeter. His 5.9 rebounds per game led his club – a number that increased significantly from his two previous seasons as a Yellow Jacket in which he snatched up 3.9 and 3.6 boards per game in ’08-’09 and ’09-’10, respectively.
In terms of offense Shumpert has a nice handle able to manipulate angles and pick-and-rolls effectively, however he really struggles at this point in his young career at knocking down perimeter shots.
In isolation situations he shot just 29.8% from the field, pick and roll sets just 29.7% and spotting up in catch-and-shoot tries only 32.1%.
There is no doubt that he will be asked to step out and knock down shots at the next level and for what its’ worth to this point hasn’t proven at all to be a reliable shooter.
However, ironically if there is a silver lining in regard to his unavoidable shooting woes its that he does show decent form on his jumper. He gets tremendous lift obviously, squares up well and shoots it with confidence. For Shumpert the main reason he struggles so mightily is in the lack of recognition for a quality attempt.
Being that he tends to dominate the ball, at times the Yellow Jacket offense goes stagnant forcing him to take a bad shot with the shot clock running low. Even worse, Shumpert, with no clear-cut offensive go-to move, appears to fall in love with his suspect mid-range jumper although he is much more effective when he attacks the basket.
As an example in pick-and-roll sets, which constituted for 14.9% of his offense according to Synergy Sports Technology, Shumpert took a dribble jumper 75% of the time resulting in a putrid 22.2% shooting clip as opposed to his 71.4% shooting when he attacked the basket – which he only did 25% of the time.
This is something that will have to change at the next level. NBA coaches will yank a player in a heartbeat if they feel they are settling and many times that’s what Shumpert did a season ago.
However, his form shows promise. He just needs to put in the time and work to hone that skill and, of course, make better decisions regarding when to shoot it.
As ineffective as Shumpert appears to be at connecting on perimeter shots the high-flying guard is equally as effective finishing at the rim whether that be on the offensive glass, isolating his man or in transition.
Being that Shumpert is a solid defensive rebounder helped in huge part by his 6-foot-6 inch frame and 42-inch vertical, he is a terror in the open court as the primary ball handler. Able to weave and navigate his way past defenders with a fluid speed and grace he finishes on the break without many problems.
Overall Shumpert is a tremendous athlete who is capable of actually using that asset to his benefit on the court. Whether grabbing a defensive rebound, finding open teammates, or hounding perimeter offensive players his reputation as a versatile point guard is sound and true.
Surprisingly he appears much more adept at making plays for his teammates than his low assists numbers (3.5/g) would suggest. When he is kicking the ball out of pick-and-roll sets to cutters and guys spotting up he seems to flourish. The problem, some may point out, at Georgia Tech was that he was relied upon to not only assist, but to score. That which he did increasing his point-per-game production from 10.0 ppg in ’09-’10 to 17.3 ppg in ’10-’11.
His experience as a distributor and a scorer will definitely be a huge plus going into this year’s draft. Being a legit 6-6 won’t hurt either.
With that being said, Shumpert, albeit a few glaring and obvious flaws in his game, is a gamble worth taking late in the draft.
He defends, he can handle the ball, he can rebound and he can finish. He can play both guard positions. He will also get teams extra possessions simply by his ability to crash the offensive boards or by creating turnovers defensively.
Shumpert just needs to really work at his decision making and shooting in the halfcourt, but there’s no such thing as a finished product in the Draft.
He patterns his game after Jason Kidd and Russell Westbrook – two NBA guards that do a little bit of everything.
After watching him play it’s not hard to see why. On January 25, 2011 he put in a 22-point, 12-rebound, 11-assist, 7-steal triple double against Virginia Tech.
Source: Draft Express
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