Iman Shumpert Can Have Breakout Season In 2016-17


Iman Shumpert is coming off the worst season of his career, and now he can focus on getting better and have a breakout season in 2016-17.

Iman Shumpert can only go up from the season he had last year, despite winning a NBA Championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was easily his worst season in his five-year career.

Shumpert, 26, had the worst shooting percentages of his career, with a line of .374/.295/.784. He became an offensive liability as opponents dared him to shoot a wide open three-pointer.  He continued to succeed on the defensive end, which allowed him to still be a pivotal part to the Cavaliers’ championship run.

Now, having a breakout season on a team led by LeBron James is a little bit different than a “typical” breakout season in the NBA. However, Shumpert could be poised for both, if the Cavs fail to re-sign J.R. Smith.

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As it stands, Shumpert would be the starting shooting guard when the Cavs lift their championship banner on Oct. 25 against the New York Knicks, ironically the team he played for before being traded to the Cleveland. Starting isn’t a new concept for Shumpert. In his time with the Knicks he started 80.2 percent of the games he played in.

That could contribute to having a typical breakout season by NBA’s standards. Even if he isn’t the opening night starter, Shumpert is poised to have an improved year.

Coming off of an abysmal season, he is going to be dared to shoot open three-pointers. If he can get in a rhythm and knock down what he is given early on in the season, that will open up his game. He can force opponents to defend him tighter by hitting open jump shots.

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Last season, Shumpert connected on 40.5 percent of shots from mid-range. Defenders began slacking off of him to take away the mid-range shot, but not the three-point shot. He shot 25-for-81 (30.9 percent) from above the break on three-point attempts, which is where he needs to improve most.

If Shumpert can begin his three-point onslaught by hitting from above the break, it will truly open up his entire game. He can then open up his mid-range game by using his ball-handling abilities to get separation from his defenders. It also opens up an option to take it to the rim, where he converted 57.1 percent of the time.

Despite coming off the bench almost exclusively with the Cavs, Shumpert still spends time on the court with James or Kyrie Irving. In fact, James (19) and Irving (18) have combined to assist on 37-of-78 shots (47.4 percent) made coming off of an assist.

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Iman Shumpert is already an above average defender, but he can truly up his game by knocking down three-pointers early in the season. This will allow him to expand his game and truly have a breakout season for the Cavs.

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