Iman Shumpert makes perfect sense for the Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers CJ McCollum Sacramento Kings Iman Shumpert (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Portland Trail Blazers CJ McCollum Sacramento Kings Iman Shumpert (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

With the free agent market nearly entirely depleted, Iman Shumpert would make for a sneaky good addition to the Portland Trail Blazers.

With only a handful of quality players on the market, the Portland Trail Blazers would be wise to make a move quick if they wish to add one final piece to round out the roster. Looking around at all their available options, none make quite as much sense as Iman Shumpert.

Although Neil Olshey would prefer to keep a flexible 14-man roster, recent circumstances might mean a little bit of forward thinking could pay off big time. If the Blazers sit back and watch the rest of this free agent class be picked clean, their will be no quality insurance plans available in the event an injury affects the rotation.

Similar to how the Lakers picked up Dwight Howard this week, signing Shumpert on a small “prove it” deal could be a big low-risk, high-reward decision. The Portland Trail Blazers are hoping to contend next year, and trusting Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. to play major mistake-free minutes could be a riskier decision than picking up a new player.

The Blazers will employ Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum with a Simons, Trent Jr., and one of Rodney Hood or Kent Bazemore (the other likely starting at the wing) as their guard depth. That’s two unproven young players and another who wasn’t good enough to win the starting job at small forward. Sounds like an unnecessarily big risk if you ask me.

Besides, it’s not like Shump would disrupt the chemistry this team has. By now he’s a seasoned veteran that knows what it takes to win, even if it means he must make sacrifices for the greater good. The worst case scenario here is that the other three players do pan out and we end up not needing Shumpert at all. In that situation, he could play a mentor role in the same vein as the Blazers most recent addition — Pau Gasol.

But unlike Gasol, Shumpert is still an awfully effective player when he’s hot. In 42 games with the Kings last season, he averaged 8.9 points per game and hit 36.6 percent of his shots from deep. While this was a bit of an outlier, he has hit 34 percent of his shots from deep over the course of his career, so we’re not looking at crazy overproduction here.

Instead, Shump could add a bit of extra shooting and bench production to this team, and most importantly of all, a sturdy defensive presence. Shumpert has had a positive Defensive Box Plus/Minus in all but one year of his career. Considering Bazemore is the only halfway competent defensive guard of the six on the roster, his skill set is something unique the Blazers don’t already have.

Even though he plays guard, he stands at the same height as Bazemore and weighs 15 pounds more. Shumpert’s size and versatility would be valuable for any contending team, especially one with a cohesive locker room like the Blazers.

If things don’t pan out, Portland can cut him before the trade deadline and keep their flexibility. Even then, Shumpert would make for a valuable trade chip on a veteran’s minimum.

Building Blazers All-Decade team (2010-19). dark. Next

And you have to admit, it would be pretty cool having the two best rappers in the NBA together on the Portland Trail Blazers. The City of Roses could soon become The City that Composes.