If there was any doubt about New York Knicks second-year guard Iman Shumpert‘s overall potential, most if not all of it should be gone following his performance in the first-round of the playoffs. In his team’s first-round series against the Boston Celtics, Shumpert did an excellent of job stepping up his effort when it mattered most, posting nine points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals per game while making 45 percent of his attempts from the field and 53 percent from behind the arc.
Over the last three games of the series, he averaged 13.6 points, eight rebounds and 2.3 steals while showing a knack for making clutch shots. In Game 6, he hit a pair of key three-pointers and also had an electrifying putback dunk.
Granted, Shumpert still has a lot of work to do in developing his offensive game. At 6’5″, 220 pounds, he’s definitely going to spend a majority of his career playing either shooting guard or small forward, and his jump shot is still developing. Save for slashing to the hoop for a layup or dunk and the occasional three, he is definitely more of a defensive player.
But that still doesn’t take away from how much he has improved his overall game since being drafted to a chorus of Knicks fans’ boos and exasperation in 2011. Who was once considered a mere Bruce Bowen-like player is now showing that. In time, he can perhaps become a dual threat, a la former Chicago Bulls legend Scottie Pippen.
More importantly, he got an extra bounce in his step just at the right time. New York is going to need him to be great in the Conference Semifinals against the feisty Indiana Pacers and if he can continue his solid production in the next round, Shumpert’s ceiling is going to get inevitably higher as he continues his quest towards superstardom.