Here’s a nice quote from Knicks head coach Mike D’Antoni about first round pick Iman Shumpert that’s going to get misconstrued all over the place. From ESPN.com via IamaGm.com:
“He has the athletic ability to guard a Derrick Rose or a Dwyane Wade or a LeBron James,” D’Antoni said Friday.
The Knicks need defense, and they drafted Shumpert, and based off of that quote, you can take the approach that D’Antoni said Shumpert can guard Rose, Wade, or James. But that’s not actually what he said.
To defend players of that caliber, you need athleticism, instincts, skills, and savvy. All of that, plus some luck, will probably get you to hold them to 43 percent shooting or worse. Throw in some help defense from teammates (on the Knicks! Haha, what a funny joke!) and you’ve got a better chance at getting them to 30% or worse. But you do need athleticism. D’Antoni’s not saying Shumpert’s going to come in and guard those guys, that’s obviously insanity. But having that kind of athleticism means Shumpert can be a defensive weapon in time.
Now, whether he’ll actually wind up getting the defensive attention he needs to become that kind of defender under D’Antoni is a separate question.