Apr 28, 2012; Miami, FL, USA; New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert (21) during the first half of game one in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals of the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE

Iman Shumpert: ESPN Player Rank No. 138

We roll on with our analysis of the 2012 ESPN NBA Player Ranking with Knicks’ sophomore shooting guard, Iman Shumpert.

In just one year Shumpert has rocketed up the rankings when he went from being ranked #440 in last year rankings, to #138 in 2012. Notable guards that Shumpert is now ranked higher than are Brandon Roy (#145),  Ramon Sessions (#146), D.J. Augustin (#147), and Stephen Jackson (#151).

New York Knicks fans should be pleased with Shumpert’s meteoric rise through the rankings because it is testament to his hard work and impact he has had in his lone season on this team. With Shumpert’s rehab going well he will be poised for another successful season on this title aspiring team.

Apr 22, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Knicks guard Iman Shumpert (21) brings the ball up the court against the Atlanta Hawks during the second half at Philips Arena. The Knicks won 113-112. Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-US PRESSWIRE

In terms of Shump’s role on this team this year I’m fine with either guard position. Iman Shumpert is tremendous athlete that thrives in transition. He oozes with confidence which is evident in his shot attempts–although his shot selection definitely needs work. He can handle the ball alright but he needs to cut  down his turnovers and and be more of a willing passer if he wants to play point guard more. In many ways Shump reminds me of Russell Westbrook when he first came into the league.

Both players are freakish athletes that can jump out the gym. Defensively they embody tenacity like very few do. And critics both knocked their playmaking skills but both have used this criticism to motivate them and improve their game. If Shumpert wants to leave his mark on this league he should watch game film of Westbrook from his rookie and sophomore seasons and film of season last year to see how he can improve his game in the same fashion.

If I was Shumpert I wouldn’t be satisfied with this ranking because the better players in the league are never happy unless their best at what they do. And Shump should have this attitude as well.  I don’t think the Knicks should give up on Shump playing point guard because I really love the size advantage he would have there which would make them even more dangerous and versatile in their half court sets this season.

But this can only happen if Shump puts in the time in the gym, watching film, and producing consistently during games–something that he will be willing to do.


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