Iman Shumpert had been considered a fan favorite since he was selected by the New York Knicks in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft. The hype had died down ever since, especially through this disappointing season and the increasing popularity of fellow teammate and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr.
However, Shumpert has played a key role for the team this season despite being below the radar. According to Basketball-Reference.com, Shumpert ranks third in the team for defensive win shares behind Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler.
His effort on the defensive end is a very appealing trait for any team in the league, which may be the reason why his name was mentioned in trade rumors earlier in the season. But his offensive win shares rating is below par, ranking 11th among the team’s 18 players.
What the statistic does not explain is his devotion to team play and his unselfishness on the offensive end. Phil Jackson had also discussed his admiration for Shumpert’s game. However, he will need to improve a bit more to become a primary defensive target in the league, and he has the ability to do so.
Shumpert needs to be more aggressive on offense. He doesn’t need to be an aggressive scorer like Anthony or Kobe Bryant, but rather someone who looks to break down the opposing team’s defense on a consistent basis. He has the ability to drive the lane, and has shown the crowd his ability some exciting slam dunks on occasion. Instead of finishing at the rim, Shumpert needs to keep his eyes peeled for open teammates. Once he can get accustomed to driving and dishing, the Knicks have developed a lethal weapon for the future.