Iman Shumpert, Your Newest New York Knick

Knicks take Georgia Tech guard to the dismay of the crowd

By Josh Alper
|  Friday, Jun 24, 2011  |  Updated 10:43 AM EDT
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Nowhere to go but up for Shumpert.

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If Donnie Walsh wanted something other than audible grumbling and scattered boos as the response for his last act as the man running the Knicks, he shouldn't have drafted Iman Shumpert.

The Georgia Tech guard was the 17th overall pick in the 2011 Draft and the fans that made the trek out to Newark greeted his name as if it were an alternate pronunciation of Frederic Weis. Maybe that's because they had never heard of him, maybe they were enamored of Florida State forward Chris Singleton or Morehead State forward Kenneth Faried or perhaps it was memories of the last Georgia Tech guard to wear a Knicks uniform, but it really did sound like the kind of greeting usually reserved for Jets draft days. 

If it was because they never heard of Shumpert, they should really be reading NBCNewYork.com a little bit more often. Not to toot our own horn, but we told you this was a real possibility on Wednesday.

The scouting report on Shumpert hasn't changed. He's big, athletic and skilled defensively which is why he went in the first round of the draft despite having the shooting touch of Jared Jeffries on a particularly bad day.

That doesn't sound too awful, actually. The Knicks desperately need to get better at defense across the board and they don't really need another player who needs the ball in his hands offensively.

The big argument with the pick is that there are other players who could give the Knicks an upgrade defensively while also helping them at other spots on the floor. Eamonn Brennan of ESPN.com made that argument -- forcefully made that argument -- on Thursday and it is a piece probably best left unread if you want to keep an optimistic view of Shumpert's future.

Then again, people were mocking the Knicks mercilessly at this time last year for picking Landry Fields and that one worked out pretty well. If Walsh hits on this pick as well, his Knicks era will get one last layer of polish that will leave it looking pretty darn spiffy well into the future.

If not, it isn't going to be his mess to clean up so let's hope that it was another home run.

UPDATE: The Knicks also bought a second round pick from the Hornets and used it on Kentucky center Josh Harrellson. He distinguished himself during the Wildcats' NCAA tournament run with active play inside and an enthusiastic family rooting section.

Neither one of those things made him seem particularly ready for life in the NBA, but it's not like the Knicks have anyone standing in his way.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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