2011 NBA Draft: A Hidden Gem, His Name Is Iman Shumpert

Zach HerringCorrespondent IIJune 15, 2011

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 10:  Iman Shumpert #1 of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets dribbles down the court during the second half of the game against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the first round of the 2011 ACC men's basketball tournament at the Greensboro Coliseum on March 10, 2011 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

On June 23, many teams will be looking for “that player,” a guy who can come in and make an impact right away. Whether it be as a starter or as a spark off the bench. Former Georgia Tech guard Iman Shumpert can definitely make an impact.

Shumpert is, without a doubt, one of the most athletic players in this draft and he proved it at the pre-draft combine measurements. Shumpert tied Kansas’ Josh Selby’s vertical leap with 42 inches. As well as being a leaper, Shumpert also bench pressed 185 pounds 18 times. The only guys who beat Shumpert in the bench press were Derrick Williams and Justin Harper who finished with 19 reps.

At 6’6" Shumpert has great size for a point guard. If Shumpert could develop a stronger jump shot and elevation, he could tower over many of the leagues’ guards who are around 6’1"-6’3". This would result in many “easy” shots with a smaller defender. But right now, Shumpert’s biggest problem is his inconsistent jump shot.

Shumpert is a fantastic slasher and knows how to finish at the rim. And being an 80 percent free throw shooter is also helpful when it comes to an and-one situation. Another strong point of Shumpert’s is his shutdown defense. This past season Shumpert averaged 2.7 steals per game for the Yellow Jackets.

Currently, as of June 15, Shumpert is ranked as the 40th best player on ESPN Insider Chad Ford’s Top 100 list. While ESPN doesn’t have Shumpert in the first round of their latest Mock Draft 5.0, a few other mock drafts do. Ian Thomsen of SI.com has Shumpert going 25th to the Boston Celtics. DraftExpress has Shumpert being drafted 22nd by the Denver Nuggets. SB Nation New York has Shumpert being drafted 27th by the New Jersey Nets. 

Awhile back, I wrote that Shumpert would be a steal for the Milwaukee Bucks who have the 40th pick. It seems that Shumpert won’t be left when the Bucks are choosing, though. But if he is, I think it’s a given that they should draft him, he probably would be the most NBA ready player left at the time.

Last year, as I watched the draft, I waited for my Milwaukee Bucks to be on the clock. And as I was waiting, the Pacers stole a player who I really wanted Milwaukee to draft, Paul George. I believe Shumpert can be compared to George as far as athletic ability is concerned. George is a much better three point shooter and also is a shooting guard rather than a point guard like Shumpert.

We saw George not getting many minutes at the beginning of the season for Indiana, but as the season picked up, he started showing us what he as all about. He had a huge game against the Wizards on March 6, scoring 23 points and helping the Pacers come out of the game with a win. Another similarity the two share is their shutdown defense. I think Shumpert could develop as we saw George develop over the course of his rookie season.

What I’m really getting at here is that Shumpert is a second round gem. This years’ draft class is questionable and is being knocked every day, but there are a few guys who could end up as shining star as far as the 2011 draft class is concerned.