Iman Shumpert was recently acquired in a trade with the New York Knicks and Oklahoma City Thunder where the Cavs landed Shumpert and J.R Smith in exchange for Dion Waiters. Smith is a crafty veteran who can fill it up on the offensive end. Shumpert is the perimeter defensive stopper that the Cavs have been lacking all year.
Kyrie Irving has stepped up his defense this year, Shawn Marion is still effective despite his age, and LeBron James can still lock somebody down when he wants to (which is very rare at this point). Despite all this, the Cavs still play very poor team defense. Shumpert is a defensive specialist who can guard both guard spots. Shumpert also seems to want to play defense, something that is rare for the Cavaliers this year.
Shumpert is big (6’5″, 220 pounds) athletic (36.5″ standing vertical), and can hit open jumpers. In a perfect world, Shumpert will develop into a Wesley Matthews type player. He will shred you on offense if you leave him open and blanket you on defense. Another substantial element that Shumpert will bring is the ability to finally lock in a starting lineup. Too often, the Cavs have had to start soon-to-retire Shawn Marion at the 2 because Dion Waiters was a terrible fit for this team, or David Blatt was desperate for any type of defense. A starting lineup of Irving-Shumpert-James-Love-Tristan Thompson is a young energetic lineup that hopefully can build cohesion and finally start to develop the team chemistry that this team desperately needs.
Shumpert on the offensive end knows he is limited and he plays his role. While his shooting percentage is low, he has had to fight for shots from Jeremy Lin, J.R Smith, and Carmelo Anthony. None of those guys have the ability to set him up for open looks like Irving, James, and Love, operating from the high post, can. These open looks will raise Shumpert’s shooting percentage to a respectable level. Shumpert is shooting 35% from long range and will force a defender to stay on him, creating even more penetration lanes for LeBron James and company.
Finally, Shumpert will be an instant fan favorite. In contention for coolest hair in the NBA with his flattop, Shumpert is also an accomplished rapper who has created a Knicks anthem, and it is very likely that he may make a Cavs anthem, which I think we would enjoy. Another awesome part of Shumpert’s game that fans will love is his ability to do crazy things like this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uirM5sljfO8. So Cleveland, get ready, because “Shump” is about to knock your socks off.
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