Iman Shumpert is almost falling into the clichéd story of guys who were told they wouldn’t succeed and then showed up the world by proving them all wrong. I’m not going to say the New York Knicks rookie guard is a raving success, but he has done better than most people thought, and he’s definitely on his way.
When he decided to forego his senior season at Georgia Tech and enter the NBA draft, a lot of people thought it was a mistake.
“I was told I was going undrafted,” Shumpert said. “That’s what I was told by everybody. I guess I wasn’t good enough in everybody else’s eyes. I was called fool’s gold. That’s what I was called in the draft combine. That’s how I remember it. I took it personal.”
Then the Knicks drafted him with the 17th pick in last year’s draft, a big surprise to some.
Shumpert started off the year very inconsistent. Just like his team, he would have his good games and his bad ones. Before Jeremy Lin came on the scene and Baron Davis was injured, people thought a lack of decent guard play was what was holding back the Knicks and they were partially blaming him.
Lately, Shumpert has come on strong. He had back-to-back 25-point games at the end of March and he’s been averaging almost 40 minutes a game for the Knicks in April. He’s 5th in the league in steals and been a huge part of the Knicks’ late season push into the playoffs.
With all the buzz over Jeremy Lin, Shumpert kind of got pushed aside, but this kid definitely has a bright future. He’s already played some very good defense on Derrick Rose and if the Bulls and Knicks meet in the playoffs, we could see a very good matchup there.
I’m not going to get carried away and say Iman Shumpert deserves to be the rookie of the year, but I think he deserves to be in the conversation. I give the award to Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving easily, but I don’t think there’s a clear number two and Shumpert should at least get some recognition for the way he’s been playing.