The 6-foot-4 backup shooting guard Landry Shamet has never been a focal part of the offense of the three teams he’s played on in his first three seasons in the NBA necessarily, but that track record may change with the Phoenix Suns.
The Philadelphia 76ers drafted him 26th overall in the 2018 draft with hopes that he could provide some off-ball spacing, which he did well, including a win on Jan. 8, 2019 in which he scored 29 points and made 8 three-pointers, a Sixers rookie record. That point total of 29 would remain his career high until Apr. 18, 2021 when he scored 30 points in a Brooklyn Nets uniform.
As an effective low-usage piece on contenders, he’s often found himself traded, now on his fourth team in as many seasons. Could this be the destination that Shamet flourishes?
As I pointed out in an article from earlier in this offseason, Phoenix has a big question mark as to who will be the reliable third ball-handler for the team. Head coach Monty Williams talked after the second game against the Lakers about how Shamet may be the answer there.
Williams also talked about other guys like Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, and Cam Payne as options for that role as well. It seems to be a situation that will be filled by committee, and Shamet is just as qualified as any of the others mentioned. So how qualified is Shamet?
Aspects We Knew
The tried and true comparison for Shamet in the NBA has always been JJ Redick. Off-ball shooting nightmare for opposing defenses. Shamet has been that with great success for playoff teams in each of his first three years, and quite often in Phoenix he will continue to do so:
Aspects That Are New
Going back to that above mentioned article from me a couple weeks ago, this third ball-handler needs to have a few requisite skills to be an ideal match. Among those are driving, live dribble passing, finishing at the rim, as well as being a pull-up threat. At times during the preseason, Shamet showed flashes of each:
Shamet has a unique skillset on this team in that he can play multiple roles and will be happy to do so. Whether it’s in three-guard lineups with Paul and Booker, like Paul has suggested to Coach Williams, or being the main ball-handler on the second unit, Shamet will be effective.
You have to credit his willingness to take back seats as needed as well as his aggression in the right spots. Depending on the lineup combo, he’ll look like anyone from JJ Redick to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander stylistically.
Making the Case
As for how Shamet is approaching this season in Phoenix, he’s excited to be a part of something special. “It’s fun basketball, playing with a ton of unselfish guys. A ‘we score’ mentality, we all empower each other and trust each other to make the right play... you don’t have to overthink, that’s when we’re going to be at our best,” Shamet said after the third preseason game. He’s ready to buy in to filling that role by committee, exactly as Williams would hope.