“Its only the preseason” is the claim that many will make regarding the perfect shift Iman Shumpert put in during the Knicks opening preseason game versus Boston on Wednesday night. For those of us who have been watching Knicks basketball for years, it was confirmation of what we have been whispering for over a year. Iman Shumpert is ready to take the next step into stardom in the NBA.
Shump was flawless from the field, going 7-7 including 3 from behind the arc. The most encouraging improvement is his shot selection. There were many times early in the game when a younger Shumpert would have forced a shot or had one of those pointless drives into the paint. On Wednesday night, Shumpert drove and created, making plays happen for his teammates. How many years has it been since the Knicks has possessed a player with a solid combination speed and scoring ability?
In the 2012-2013 season, Iman’s statistics took a slight dip from his solid rookie season, mostly through injury. As a rookie, Shumpert was mostly used as a point guard, which is far from his desired position at the 2 guard. This was due mostly to necessity and the inept decisions of the Knicks staff. Despite playing out of position, his talent was obvious. He averaged 9.5 PPG and 2.8 assists while showing such an amazing first step and defensive hustle. These are not sterling numbers, but are more than feasible considering it was a rookie playing out of position. When in his natural position, Shumpert has the ability to become an elite player.
What fans could see last night was a kid ready to take the next step into becoming an elite player in the NBA. Three years is usually the point that players have been around the league long enough to make the step into stardom. Iman Shumpert is ready to make that step. His burst to the basket and his constantly developing ability to create can catapult him into the elite realm much sooner than many fans thought. Especially this fan, who spent an entire night screaming about not drafting Kenneth Faried.
Written by K.C. Jones