The New York Knicks surprised 2011 NBA Draft observers Thursday night, bypassing a couple of defensive-minded big men for athletic, defensive-minded 6-foot-5 guard Iman Shumpert of Georgia Tech. The initial reaction seems to be that this is a high-risk, high-reward pick for the Knicks, who do need to get better defensively.
ESPN Draft analyst Chad Ford gave the Knicks' selections of Shumpert in the first round and center Josh Harrellson of Kentucky with the 45th overall pick in the second round a B-. After saying the Knicks "swung for the fences" with this pick Ford opined that Shumpert "can be a monster" in the NBA -- if he can shoot the ball and run a team from the point.
CBS Sports gave the selection a B. Calling Shumpert a "high-flyer," CBS also said "Few players impressed unsuspecting NBA scouts more in recent weeks than this incredible athlete."
Hoops Hype called Shumpert a "Tough defender and terrific athlete."
Knicks' fans can feel good that their team at least made an effort here to get better defensively. If Shumpert also turns out to be an effective point guard that is even better. Of course, they still need to get better on the interior if they are going to be serious NBA title contenders.
-- See SB Nation New York's NBA Draft Hub for more coverage.