Sacramento Kings: Iman Shumpert Remains One of the Most Important Players on the Roster

Iman Shumpert is an NBA Champion. The Sacramento Kings knew this when they acquired him from the Cleveland Cavaliers at last year’s trade deadline. While he’ll never be an NBA superstar, that hasn’t stopped him. Shump has been one of the main catalysts for the Kings surprising start.

This is one of the NBA’s feel-good stories for the 2018-19 season. Iman Shumpert has battled back from injury, one that cost him most of the 2017-18 season. What we are seeing is a player who’s committed to getting himself at peak performance.

You’d look at Shumpert’s stats and ask yourself why he’s been such a factor for Sacramento. Only averaging 9.9 points, there’s not much scoring upside. His other stats aren’t impressive either. He only contributes 3.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists. What’s the point of having someone in your starting lineup that puts up these numbers?

A player like Shumpert will always have a role on an NBA roster. He played a part in the Cavs title run and numerous playoff appearances. For a team like the Sacramento Kings, who don’t have an NBA Champion on the active roster, a player with the leadership and knowledge of Shumpert is greatly needed.

The Kings are a young team. There have been reports of head coach, Dave Joerger, going against the wishes of the front office and playing veterans over young players. Shumpert is one of those vets that has caught Joerger’s eye. He’s playing the former 1st round pick 25.5 minutes per game, the 4th most on the roster.

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With the pressure on Joerger to play younger and make the playoffs in the process, we actually might see less of Shumpert. Bogdan Bogdanovic is a 15+ point per game scorer. Still, we’ll probably get Shumpert maintaining that starter role for the time being.

If Joerger moves Marvin Bagley or Harry Giles into the starting lineup for the struggling Willie Cauley-Stein, there needs to be some more punch on the second unit, making Bogdanovic the man to take that assignment. Granted, Bogdanovic should be coming off the bench even without a lineup change, just to have a scorer off the second unit. Shumpert can still start and draw the tough defensive matchups.

For the time being, you need to start Shumpert. If it works, it works. He’s the veteran that every NBA team needs on the court. We’ve seen how lost the Kings can be without him, evident by a loss to Utah Jazz on November 25th. There’s just a different attitude with the Sacramento roster when he’s on the floor.

There’s no harm in playing Shump extended minutes and starting him. If the team is winning, why does it matter? He’ll lose minutes to guys like Bogdanovic and Giles. Although, there’s a role for Shumpert on the Sacramento Kings. He’s proven himself to the team as the most trusted veteran leader.

Can the Sacramento Kings make the playoffs? That’s something every NBA fan wants to see. There’s nothing better than a good underdog story. With Iman Shumpert having a career year, perhaps that’s possible. He’s one of the most important players on the Kings roster.

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