Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Knicks' Iman Shumpert Named to NBA All-Rookie Fist Team
Aside from proving he carries himself with enough swagger off the court to thrive in the Big Apple, Iman Shumpert also proved himself on the hardwood by elevating the Knicks all season long.
The rookie fit right into the new defensive culture the team's staff looked to instill on the squad. A fearless defender, Shumpert took on an array of the league's top talents, covering the likes of Paul Pierce, Derrick Rose, and Dirk Nowitzki. In addition to displaying slick defensive prowess, the young stud's athletic ability electrified the Garden crowd night in and night out. His aerodynamic dunks often paced New York's second unit's contributions.
For all of his efforts (and perhaps his mass popularity), the Georgia Tech product was named to the NBA's All-Rookie First Team. He received fifteen first-team votes, as well as ten second-team votes. The guard was joined by the likes of the Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving, and the Timerwolves' Ricky Rubio, among others.
Having been picked seventeenth overall in last June's rookie draft, Shumpert seemed to exceed just about every single expectation this past season. Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (last year's twenty-second overall selection) was the only player picked later than Shumpert in the draft to also be honored with a "First-Team" selection.
The Knicks' overall shaky backcourt situation resulted in Shumpert emerging as one of their strongest weapons, whether he started a game or provided a boost off the bench. He averaged 9.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and an astounding 1.7 steals in nearly 29 minutes per game. He played in 59 contests (starting 35) in the regular season before tearing his ACL during the Knicks' playoff series with the Miami Heat. With rehab expected to be a total of six to eight total months, it's unknown whether or not Shumpert will be ready by the start of next season. December seems to be a more likely month for his return.
While he undoubtedly became known for his versatile skills, Shumpert's interactions with fans via various types of social media certainly helped propel his popularity to new heights. The guard has nearly 110,00 followers on Twitter, and often responds to many of them daily.
In addition, Shumpert sat down with us at Knicks Journal for three exclusive one-on-one interviews over the last year. To see how his attitude progressed and view his maturation throughout the season, you can read all three interviews below:
August 2011: Iman Shumpert Discusses Rookie Season Goals and Workout Routine
February 2012: Iman Shumpert Talks About "Linsanity," the Dunk Contest, and Bouncing Back From His First NBA Injury
March 2012: Iman Shumpert Addresses the Knicks' Coaching Change and His Role on the Team
The 21 year old clearly went through the second-half of his rookie year with a chip on his shoulder, after not be selected for the Rising Stars Challenge during NBA All-Star Weekend. He certainly played with a certain fire as he closed out the season. With this new and most deserving recognition, it seems as though he's successfully avenged the snub.