After listening to Doug Gottlieb's rant against Iman Shumpert
on Friday morning, I wanted to go out and see what the general opinion of Shumpert's selection was from the media. Let's start with a short clip from Eamonn Brennan's Friday morning blogging
It's almost like Isiah Thomas never left the Knicks front office...there were plenty of good reasons for New York fans to boo so lustily after their first-round pick.
Brennan cited Shumpert's selection as the most surprising event of the 2011 NBA Draft. I think Big12Hoops writer, Matt Patton, summarizes why most Draftniks think the selection of Shumpert was unwarranted
Many of my questions about Shumpert go back to last season, when he was the facilitator on a team with two elite forwards (Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal). Despite having not one but two trump cards down low, Georgia Tech struggled offensively. And it’s fine to blame coaching to some extent, but Shumpert never looked comfortable facilitating for the Yellow Jackets. Then this year he was the best offensive performer for the team (the only performer with an offensive rating over 100 according to Ken Pomeroy), but he was not good at getting his teammates involved or consistently taking good shots.
Sometimes, I think there is a tendency for NBA and NFL Draft analysts to be hyper-critical of upper classmen. In Shumpert's case, this is probably true as SBN's Posting and Toasting breaks down Shumpert's positives
I like what I've heard and seen regarding Shumpert. The flaws are clear-cut: Right now, he's neither a great shooter (though perhaps not as bad as his college percentages would tell you) nor a great passer, and thus isn't so much a combo guard as he is a...non-bo guard? I don't know. All that said, he's huge for a backcourt player, has absolutely obscene raw athletic skills, and loves to play defense. All good things.
In my opinion, it doesn't really matter what the bloggers and media talking heads think. It's what the GM and owners think. Why was Shumpert drafted 17th overall? The New York Post interviewed Mike D'Antoni and he said the following
"His knock was he couldn't shoot, but as soon as he got the ball, his form was perfect and he made shots," D'Antoni said. "You can say it's one day. But by his form, we think he can become very good shooter. If that's the knock on him, we're excited about that. His best qualities are defensively and athleticism, but his workout is one of the best we've ever had and we've been drafting high the past three years. We all turned together at the same time and said, 'Wow, this is pretty good.'"
Fortunately for Shumpert, he was drafted in the first round and has more than a snowball's chance in Hell of sticking around. Unfortunately, he was drafted into the most critical, cynical media market on this side of the Pond. I hope Shumpert succeeds. I thought he put in his time at Tech and was a great rep for the Institute during his three years at AMC. Shumpert is the only Tech player to record a triple double against an ACC foe; was the fourth player in ACC history to lead a team in scoring, rebounds, assists, and steals; and finished as Tech's 32nd all time leading scorer with 1,166 points. Good luck in the NBA, Iman. We could've used you next year but I'm pretty sure I'd trade the Gwinnett Civic Center for Madison Square Garden 999,999 times out of 1,000,000.