You won’t see many people who were around the Brooklyn Nets last season complain about Iman Shumpert’s 13-game cameo with the team last season, even if his stats weren’t that great.
General Manager Sean Marks, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving must agree because the team reportedly agreed to sign the 30-year-old veteran wing to fill one of the Nets’ two open roster spots.
In 13 games last season with Brooklyn, Shumpert averaged just 4.2 points and 2.6 rebounds per game in 18.5 minutes per contest. But the Nets were 9-4 when he played last season, in part helping them make the playoffs even though he was released on Dec. 12, 2019 to make room for the returning Wilson Chandler.
This may be obvious but I’ll say it anyway: The Nets don’t need Shumpert to score. Brooklyn’s offensive rating was a really bad 99.8 when he was on the floor last season, per Basketball-Reference, but if he’s on the court with some combination of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, scoring won’t be the problem for this team. It’s the 108.9 defensive rating Brooklyn had when Shumpert was on the court that likely interested Marks from a season ago.
That’s an improvement from the 112.3 defensive rating the Nets currently have, which ranks a not-good-enough 23rd in the NBA. But head coach Steve Nash is only playing six players more than 20 minutes per game so far this season, the aforementioned big three along with Joe Harris, DeAndre Jordan and Jeff Green. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Landry Shamet and Bruce Brown are the other trio with minutes per game in the high teens. And not even the defensive-minded Brown has great per-100 possession numbers right now.
Perhaps this area is where Shumpert can wrest some minutes from Shamet, Brown and TLC or maybe the 10-year veteran is just there as another body. But I have a feeling Shumpert will get his chances to prove his worth and help this Nets team on the defensive end, where they can certainly use the help.