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Iman Shumpert debuts for the Knicks… and it was pretty good

Dec 17, 2011, 8:30 PM EDT

New York Knicks v New Jersey Nets Getty Images

When Iman Shumpert was drafted, Knicks fans got excited.

That’s pretty normal, right?

Now, here’s where the story diverts into two tales. On the one hand, you have normal fans. “Hey, maybe Shumpert can contribute and eventually start.” Or, “Wow, he’s got great athleticism and an all-around game, he could really be a difference maker, eventually.” Then there’s the “I’m telling you, the guy is special and is going to be Rookie of the Year and an All-Star.” The first group of fans denies that the second group of fans exist, for the most part. But go take a look in the scary wilderness of the internet, and you’re going to find them, loud and clear. And while there are certainly lunatic fans among any fanbase demographic, Knicks fans, based on the whole New York thing… they have a special flavor to them. It’s endearing really. But it’s out there.

Funny story, though. Shumpert debuted against the Nets in a preseason game today, and he was much closer to being in-between the two estimations than he was to bust level. Shumpert scored 16 and showed pretty much everything you want to see with regards to what the Knicks need from him, short of point guard playmaking ability.

Shumpert is going to be a two-guard, barring some sort of dramatic development in ball-handling and playmaking. But he’s going to be a crack spot-up shooter, and a player that can provide offense when the defense collapses on the Knicks’ stars, or if Amar’e and Melo are on the bench. More importantly, however? He’s active and long on defense. In a key sequence Saturday, Shumpert slapped the ball out of a distracted Deron Williams‘ hands into the backcourt, then snatched it and finished with a layup. It’s exactly the kind of play the Knicks need to make things easier for their team with all the pressure on a shortened talent scale.

Shumpert had a good game in his first preseason tilt against a fairly wretched Nets team. But he also showed enough to start building a movement. He looks to be a good player, and for Knicks fans, that’s enough to get excited about.

  1. unpossibleproductions - Dec 17, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    As a Knick fan, I was pretty upset when they drafted Shumpert considering that Chris Singleton has seemingly fallen right into their lap as a gift. Most of the Knicks fans I know were less than enamored with the pick as well. Shumpert was a lousy shooter in college and isn’t the point guard the team needs, whereas Singleton or even Kenneth Faried, who was still on the board, could have given the team valuable minutes off the bench at forward spots.

    • theghostofwillisreed - Dec 17, 2011 at 11:32 PM

      singleton is undersized. the knicks have tyson and people are still crying over faried and singleton? smh..

  2. sbs0311 - Dec 17, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    Yeah, well you and every Knicks fan who says that has failed to answer one obvious question. Where is Singleton going to play in key moments of games?

    I find it amazing that all these Knicks fans want forward depth. THE THREE BEST PLAYERS ARE AT CENTER, POWER FORWARD, AND SMALL FORWARD.

    Singleton cannot be part of the offense as a shooting guard. Shumpert can. Shumpert can be part of a crunch time lineup, and he has the size and strength to guard guys like Rose, Rondo, and Wade. Singleton is a very nice player, and the Knicks would be better to have him, but not at the expense of a guy who can complement Anthony and Stoudemire rather than substitute for one of them.

  3. jvnyj - Dec 17, 2011 at 9:48 PM

    I wanted Singleton as well, but the thing with him is he probably won’t get much better then he is now, he will be an okay wing defender and a long armed guy to pull a steal here or there in the passing lanes. Shump has the potential to be a Rondo type steal (they were picked around the same area of their respective drafts) that’s why Donnie made the pick. I love Melo’ after the game saying how proud he was and how much he believed in him. I like to see that leadership from him I expect that thing from Stat. I am also hearing that we will get Davis and maybe move TD or Fields for a better distributor. Lets hope. NYK!!!!!!!!!

  4. unpossibleproductions - Dec 17, 2011 at 10:28 PM

    Here is the answer to your question. He doesn’t play in the key moments of the game, nor will Shumpert. When you’re a playoff team and you’re drafting a player at 17, unless you get lucky, you’re not likely to be selecting a crunch time player, especially not in their first year. Considering that Amar’e and Chandler both have had injury issues over the years and the primary backups in the front court are the offensively challenged Jared Jeffries and Renaldo Balkman and project rookies Jerome Jordan and Josh Harrellson, I’m pretty sure Singleton could have easily contributed 15-20 minutes a night. Also, selecting Singleton was a question of value. Most pre-draft projections had Singleton in the 10-13 range. Shumpert was regarded as a 2nd round pick. When a gift falls in your lap you either take it or you draft Frederic Weis over Ron Artest.

    • theghostofwillisreed - Dec 17, 2011 at 11:34 PM

      shumpert won’t play in key moments of the game yet singleton would? your logic is flawed.

      draft projections mean jack.

      • unpossibleproductions - Dec 17, 2011 at 11:40 PM

        Again here is the answer to your question. He doesn’t play in the key moments of the game, nor will Shumpert.

    • dysraw1 - Dec 18, 2011 at 8:57 AM

      Josh look good yesterday

  5. theartestformerlyknownasron - Dec 17, 2011 at 11:19 PM

    I’m a little surprised at the level of criticism levelled toward this, considering neither player has shown evidence of failing since the season hasn’t even started yet. At least give him one regular season game before calling it a bad pick.

    The Knicks have issues at both positions, be it either in depth or in quality, and given what’s available it’s hard to see who they can sign in order to address these issues. At worst this seems like a shrug-and-see pick.

    You might as well roll out the 1984 Draft comparison if you’re going to use any at all, since clearly this is a failure of the magnitude of signing Bowie over Jordan because you already had that position filled. (Sarcasm off)

    Interestingly, as regards your point about projected draft position using the 1999 example, you’ll find Manu Ginobili down at 57 in the order. I wonder how many people projected him to come second last, and where are they now.

  6. coldyron - Dec 18, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    Wait, how can you say this guy is pretty good but also say that Kyrie Irving and Brandon Knight having superior games doesn’t mean anything?

  7. damp1015 - Dec 18, 2011 at 8:40 AM

    I’m a Knicks fan and I was not familiar with Shumpert. But from the different points I hear about him, he seems promising as most rookies do. He looked good against the Nets and of course his skills will build as he plays next to other NBA players. Let him shine when he can and if he fails, then we can call him on it. At least he plays defense!

  8. dysraw1 - Dec 18, 2011 at 8:51 AM

    I think alot of good things are install for this kid. watching the game yesterday told me he wants to be a lead guard, but in dick dantones system who knows who the point man is. anyway i think that 16 points is only the beginning, barring injuries this kid has a bright future in this town

  9. cantonbound13 - Dec 18, 2011 at 1:01 PM

    I’m just thrilled Isiah is gone!

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