GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- The book on Iman Shumpert was that he couldn't shoot. But when the New York Knicks saw him knocking down shot after shot when they worked him out, they determined the book was outdated.
Outgoing Knicks president Donnie Walsh raved about Shumpert's shooting ability, his defensive abilities and his 40-inch vertical leap Thursday night after the Knicks took the Georgia Tech combo guard with the 17th pick in the draft, passing over Marshon Brooks of Providence, Chris Singleton of Florida State and Kenneth Faried of Morehead State.
"He shot the ball extremely well. His shot's not broke. Some guys you see, and you can tell right away they can't shoot and they're going to have to learn form. He has good form, he was hitting shots, he can defend very well. Very well. And he's got tremendously long arms, so I really liked him a lot," Walsh said.
Walsh said the Knicks had one trade in the works that would have allowed them to move up, but the team they were talking to ended up having the opportunity to draft the player they wanted.
He said the Knicks chose a defensive-minded guard rather than a defensive-minded forward simply because of the lack of playing time opportunities available at those positions behind Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire.
"As the draft went on, because there [were] other guys that could have fallen to us, and I was like 'Whoa, if he falls down, we're going to have to take him.' And they got taken right before us, and we ended up doing what we did, and I was happy with that," Walsh said. "At some point you look and there was three teams to pick, and you had four players there, so you know we were going to do all right."
Walsh said the Knicks would still try to determine whether it was possible to purchase a second-round pick, but he said (late in the first round) there was no one left on the board who was going to be able to come in next season and be an impact player.
Shumpert worked out for the Knicks on June 9 and was assigned to defend Hofstra guard Charles Jenkins.
"I shot it real well. I impressed everybody. They all said I couldn't shoot, and I shot it well," said Shumpert, who estimated he made 17 or 18 of 25 NBA-range 3-point shots during shooting drills.
The 6-foot-6 Shumpert, who played three seasons at Georgia Tech, shot only 28 percent from 3-point range and a shade below 41 percent from the field, but he did average 2.87 steals, eighth-best in the NCAA.
Walsh said he expected Shumpert to play at times in a two-guard alignment with Chauncey Billups in which Billups would man the off-guard position. Shumpert's addition adds depth to a Knicks backcourt that also includes Toney Douglas and Landry Fields, but the Knicks still have a huge hole to fill at center, where Ronny Turiaf is their only big man under contract for next season.
"We did get to the playoffs, which I said was my goal for the third year, and we did have a winning record," Walsh said. "Once we made the [Anthony] trade, we got two stars but we lost a lot of pieces that need to play with stars. And the job now is to replace them. Because of the trade, we're not in a great cap position for [this summer], but the following summer we're in a great position.
"So the job now is to manage the cap and to add pieces that will cover up whatever it is we don't have out there, and obviously big people are that. And so we're very aware of that," said Walsh, whose tenure as team president will end in one week.