How Does He Fit? Iman Shumpert Resigns With The Cavaliers


Today was a great day for the Cleveland Cavaliers. While other teams were focused on adding to their rosters in hopes of moving into championship contention, the Cavaliers were focused on retaining their own free agents and extending their championship window. To that end, they were able to get commitments from forwards Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, and earlier in the evening, guard Iman Shumpert.

As a restricted free agent, there was little doubt that the Cavaliers would match any reasonable effort for Shumpert. Still, there was little noise regarding dialogue between Shumpert’s camp and the Cavaliers regarding any deal. When Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported that Shumpert would start taking meetings with other teams, it was reasonable to speculate that another team might present an offer sheet that the Cavaliers would be hesitant to match. That thought disappeared roughly two hours later when Wojnarowski reported that Shumpert and the Cavaliers had agreed to a four-year $40 million dollar contract, an amount that Shumpert and his agent were known to be looking for this offseason since before he was traded to Cleveland in January.

While this deal may seem a bit high, there’s a good chance that the Cavaliers will be happy with it. With the skyrocketing the salary cap will do over the next few years, a $10 million a year deal will soon be the equivalent of the midlevel exception. If you look at Shumpert’s deal that way it seems very fair.

It’s fair for the Cavaliers when you consider all that Shumpert brings to the team. He’s the best perimeter defender on the team with the exception of an engaged LeBron James, with the quickness, length, and hands to get steals without gambling too often. He’ll almost always be tasked with guarding the opposing team’s main perimeter threat, a huge role on a team that, as this is being written, has few quality perimeter defenders. He’s also a solid rebounder for his position, helping an already formidable Cavaliers attack on the boards.

Shumpert has some decent offensive skills as well. His time as a point guard in college has given him the ability to handle the ball and serve as a playmaker on offense for short stretches. He also shot 38% on catch and shoot three pointers last season, a solid number that helps him fit well in a Cavaliers offense that has him spotting up behind the arc the majority of the time.

None of this is to say that Shumpert doesn’t have his warts (players with few warts are called All-Stars). He isn’t a great passer, despite his ability to handle the ball and history as a point guard, and seemed to develop further tunnel vision during his time with the Cavs. He’s a notoriously poor finisher at the rim and a slightly below average three point shooter overall. On defense, Shumpert is a bit too small to guard some of the larger small forwards in the league, and the Cavaliers would be better off bringing in a larger wing to serve as a backup to LeBron James.

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Still, Shumpert has the potential to be just the kind of role player at shooting guard that the Cavaliers need. He’s a career 34.2% shooter from deep, just one percent below league average. There’s the makings of a nice “3 and D” player here, and at twenty-five years old and with a lot of wide open looks, Shumpert could get there. Considering the value that kind of player has in the league today, it wouldn’t be a shock to see Shumpert’s value to the team more than outweigh the cost of his contract.

How do you feel about Iman Shumpert’s fit with the Cavaliers going forward?

Next: How Love and Thompson Fit for the Future