- The Brooklyn Nets have signed veteran guard Iman Shumpert.
- Shumpert played 13 games for the Nets last season before he was waived.
- The 30-year old looks to provide the Nets with experience and the much-needed boost in defense.
The Brooklyn Nets are resurrecting guard Iman Shumpert.
Shumpert is a free agent who was unsigned during the offseason. But while he was without a team, he was working out on his own, hoping to land a roster spot. Now that opportunity has arrived.
He played with Nets’ star Kyrie Irving in Cleveland and also appeared in 20 games for the Houston Rockets where he had the opportunity to be teammates with James Harden. The Nets are hoping that the nine-year veteran will help them address their biggest weakness this season which is defense. The Nets have three elite scorers including two former scoring champions but need defensive help if they want to go deep in the postseason.
Nets Need Defensive Help
Talking Nets defense with @KNegandhiESPN. In the past 25 years, only one team has won a title ranked outside the top-20 defensively (where Brooklyn is now). Time playing together should help the Nets improve, but with no defensive stopper, it’s also gonna take effort/sacrifice pic.twitter.com/L2RpdyMh5S
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) January 22, 2021
Since acquiring Harden, the Nets have posted a 6-2 record ( as of Saturday ) and have won their last four games after losing back to back games against the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, except for their 98-85 win over the Miami Heat, Brooklyn has conceded at least 115 points. In six of those games, they have given up at least 123 points.
During the Harden era, the Nets have ranked 27th among 30 NBA teams in defensive efficiency, conceding 116 points per 100 possessions. And while they probably have more firepower that any other team in the league, offense alone won’t win them the championship.
Since the 1999-2000 season, only three teams have won the NBA title without a Top 10 defense, with the 2001 Los Angeles Lakers have the worst at 22nd overall. Brooklyn is currently 27 with Harden and 24th overall this season. Unless they want to break the 2002 Lakers’ record, Steve Nash has to let his boys know they need to play better defense if they want to fulfill their mission.
The defending champions Lakers still have the best odds to repeat as champions at +240 at SportsBetting.ag. However, the Nets have seen their odds shorter from +400 pre-Harden to +300 after acquiring the 2018 NBA MVP. But among the Top 13 teams in the latest oddsboards of the best NBA betting sites, the Nets have the worst defensive rating. That may not be a problem now but it could be during the playoffs where teams start putting a premium on defense.
A Permiter Defender
Shumpert spent time with the Nets last season, making an impact on the defensive end of the floor, and is now returning to Brooklyn, sources said. The Nets needed to sign a player today to reach 14 roster spots. https://t.co/B2gq8NX2vt
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 30, 2021
Shumpert was once one of the league’s premier perimeter defenders. The 30-year old former 17th overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks was a defensive standout in college. He was named to the All-ACC Defensive team in 2011 and also holds the Georgia Tech record for steals per game average.
He brought that defensive mentality in the NBA and averaged at least one steal per game in six out of his 9 NBA seasons. Shumpert was one of the top defenders when it came to deflecting the ball but since those stats aren’t officially recorded, his true defensive value was never measured.
When the Cleveland Cavaliers won the 2016 NBA title, Shumpert was on that team and played important minutes off the bench. His 2016 defensive rating of 103 was the second best of his career and while it was LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love who starred on that team, Shumpert was among those who did the dirty work.
He has bounced around the league since then and played for the Nets briefly last season. Brooklyn saw first hand his handiwork and that’s one of the reasons they’re bringing him back. With his defense and experience, Steve Nash is hoping that Shumpert will spark the Nets on the defensive end. No, he isn’t the rim protecting big that they need badly right now, but his ability to defend from the wing position makes this signing a good start for the Nets.