A former McDonald's All-American, Iman Shumpert has played a prominent role in Georgia Tech's backcourt since stepping on campus as a freshman. A combo guard with a scorer's mentality, Shumpert attempted to find a balance between shooting and passing playing next to the likes of Lewis Clinch, Gani Lawal, and Derrick Favors as an underclassman. Now a junior, Shumpert has gotten the opportunity to shoulder the offensive load as the clear cut first option for Paul Hewitt's rebuilding Yellow Jackets, seeing his shot attempts per-40 minutes skyrocket from 11.3 last season to 17.3 this season. Despite reinforcing many of our conceptions about his weaknesses offensively, this has been a breakout season on a number of levels for the Illinois native.
As we've stated in past reports, the intrigue around Shumpert as a potential NBA player revolves around his exceptional physical profile for a player seeing time at the point guard position. Standing 6'4 with an extremely rangy frame, Shumpert is fluid, agile, deceptively quick, and an explosive two-foot leaper.
Though Shumpert has certainly played quite a bit of point guard throughout his career at Georgia Tech, he's spent more time off the ball recently. In his first two years in Atlanta, he struggled with his shot selection, liked to dominate the ball, and proved fairly turnover prone looking to set the table for others. Now forced to score out of necessity as a junior, Shumpert's passing numbers have declined, but he's turning the ball over far less, getting to the line quite a bit more, and has gotten more and more efficient as the season has gone on, even if his sub 40% shooting remains disconcerting.
He still has a significant amount of work ahead of him in terms of learning how to play winning basketball—as evidenced by the lackluster season is Georgia Tech is having (11-14 overall, 3-8 in ACC), but we have seen some progress individually on Shumpert's part, even if it's been mostly in a losing effort. Georgia Tech's degenerate offense has plenty to do with this obviously, but Shumpert can't escape criticism for how bad his team looks in the half-court, since he's often the main culprit.
Shumpert's desire to have the ball in his hands, his team's need for leadership, and the subtle improvements he's made offensively have regardless generated a number of extremely impressive performances from the young guard, including a 30 point outburst against UNC and a recent 27 point outing against Virginia Tech.
Still a streaky perimeter scorer, Shumpert is far too reliant on his jump shooting ability, and often looks to pull-up when he puts the ball on the floor. 68% of his shot attempts are of the jump-shot variety, but he knocks down just 28.4% of them, and gets even worse when pulling up off the dribble, making 19.5% of his pull-up attempts. While he's hitting his free throws at a very respectable rate, Shumpert's shooting still haven't caught up with his solid mechanics and remain by far his biggest weakness, especially when you look at the way he operates on the floor sometimes—usually taking the first shot available to him, regardless of whether it's a good or bad attempt.
Shumpert's most consistent contributions come in transition, where he can use his speed and first step most effectively. A solid finisher who has become more adept at drawing contact and finishing plays himself instead of forcing tough passes, Shumpert still flashes good court vision on occasion, but has a great deal of room to improve offensively on the whole.
The same can't be said for his play on the defensive end, where he has absolutely flourished this season. Combining excellent length and lateral quickness with good intensity, Shumpert is simply exceptional one-on-one, rebounds the ball at an outrageous rate for a guard, and leads our database in steals by a pretty considerable margin. Extremely active with his hands and feet, Shumpert does a great job maintaining his balance and denying penetration and has the physical tools to defend multiple positions in the NBA.
While Shumpert certainly hasn't had a stellar offensive season despite his productivity, he's made a lot of key improvements in other areas. If he lands on a team with a coach that can help him hone his shot selection, eliminate the inefficient parts of his game (mainly his stubborn insistence for settling for pull-up jumpers), and play to his strengths, the improvements he's made as a slasher, rebounder, and defender could make him a very useful player at the NBA level.
Though he projects as a roleplayer due to his lack of jump shooting ability and pure point guard play, Shumpert has the ability to compete with any guard in the country in workouts on a good day, and is a clear-cut sleeper prospect to watch should he enter the draft.
The more I think about this pick the madder I get. This is why I hate the combine and people who overrate tools and measurements. That stuff really doesn't matter at all if the guy is a functioning ****** and not good at basketball.
What the **** does it matter if he can bench 185 pounds 18 times. He shot 27% from 3 and took 5 attempts per game like a ****ing spaz. I hate this organization so much.