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Houston Rockets: Iman Shumpert hasn’t reached near full potential yet

By Michael Knight
Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder handles the ball against Iman Shumpert #1 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder handles the ball against Iman Shumpert #1 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)
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At the trade deadline, the Houston Rockets mainly were able to clear some cap space as well as acquire some depth for the team. They have one guy that hasn’t played much due to injury who can really make an impact.

Iman Shumpert has been a member for the Houston Rockets since they traded for him in the middle of February. He’s played just five games, unfortunately, mostly due to injury. In the others, he just hasn’t been that effective and hasn’t found himself comfortable in the offense yet.

Still, that doesn’t mean that he won’t contribute whenever he’s back to being healthy. He is a perfect fit for the Rockets and can likely play three positions for the team. Shump is a solid defender that has been knocking down 3s with regularity this year before the trade.

For the Rockets to be at their best, Shumpert off the bench at his full potential is something that probably should happen. It’s definitely possible, because with the Kings this year, he was a great glue guy. The Rockets aren’t particularly great on defense this season, but Shump can come in and really help change that as the team looks to get back to where they were a year ago.

Corner 3s

One area where Shumpert can contribute immediately is corner 3-pointers. In the role he’ll have off the bench, he’ll be able to play next to one of James Harden or Chris Paul at all times. They’ll be able to find him in the corner if the Rockets have him there, where he is excellent.

This season, Iman is shooting 42.1% from the left corner and 40.6% from the right. Putting him in the left corner while P.J. Tucker, who shoots a tremendous 44.6%, in the right corner almost makes too much sense. That will open up the lane for the Beard and CP3, creating a ton of offensive opportunities.

Defense

On defense, he will be just another player the Rockets can throw out there against the top small forwards/guards. Shumpert is versatile enough to defend multiple positions and do so with success.

I mentioned earlier how he can really come in here and help bring the Rockets back to the defensive team they were last season. While they may never be quite that good, Shump can certainly help.

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Last year’s squad had another versatile defender, Luc Mbah a Moute, off the bench. While Iman Shumpert isn’t quite the defender that Luc is, he can play a similar role in the switching style of defense that the Rockets play. Let’s hope we get to see him at maximum health this season. (All stats via NBA.com)

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