It has been a tumultuous 24 hours for Knick fans. With rumors swirling of Steve Nash trades, moving up in the draft for Jimmer Fredette or Klay Thompson, and then a real possibility that Kemba Walker may drop to 17, the draft fell short of the buildup.
The New York Knicks selected Iman Shumpert of Georgia Tech with the 17th overall pick. While not a fan of the pick, having defensive stalwart Chris Singleton still on the board, Shumpert is now a Knick and it is time to think about how he could help.
Standing at about 6’6″ with close to a 6’10″ wingspan and 42 inch vertical Shumpert is an athletic beast. The former McDonald’s All American was one of the top point guards in the country coming out of high school, but that is not where I see him contributing in the NBA. Shumpert should be lining up at SG at the next level with his size and athleticism, the only problem is he cant shoot (28% from college three as a Junior at Georgia Tech). On the bright side, as Tommy Dee from TheKnicksBlog has pointed out, neither could Wilson Chandler coming out of DePaul. Through hard work with D’Antoni’s staff and extra time in the gym, Chandler became one of our most consistent shooters before he was traded. One would hope the same can happen for Shumpert.
Shumpert does fill a huge hole in perimeter defense for the Knicks. Ray Allen just toasted New York 2 months ago in a 4 game sweep in the playoffs. And with Dwyane Wade leading the charge for the HEAT and Derrick Rose for the Bulls, you have to hope Shumpert could come in right away to help slow these guys down. This would allow STAT and Melo to go to work, and keep the Knicks in play for that Top 4 seed in the East.
I have to apologize for my reaction to the Josh Harrellson pick last night. I actually like the pick from a standpoint of what he could bring to the team. My only issue was whether he could be had either later in the draft or through free agency, allowing us to take the risk on the potential of Josh Selby from Kansas.
Harrellson comes from a Kentucky team loaded with stars, much like the team he is joining here in the NBA with STAT and Melo. With his size and motor you would hope he can get out on the court from day one, and give you 10-15 Jeff Foster type minutes. Not much more you can ask from a big man taken in the middle of the second round. Knicks need size and toughness and at the 45th pick, Harrellson can bring it.
While this draft was anything but a dream scenario in my eyes, it’s over with, and you got to make the most of what you have. With an improved jumper, Shumpert could turn out to be a very good NBA player. Harrellson is what he is. A garbageman big. The Knicks are in need of one of those, and he can bring it for cheap. If we have learned anything about the draft from 2010, these kids deserve a chance. I can’t help but think back just a year ago, with a dropped jaw thinking “Landry Fields????! Really???!!!” Let’s hope this goes down as another one of those.