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Film Breakdown: Why Landry Shamet will make the Suns’ bench unit dangerous

Landry Shamet’s fit in Phoenix should be a seamless one.

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Phoenix Suns Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns acquired Landry Shamet in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets last month, giving up Jevon Carter and the 29th pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

If there’s anything we know about James Jones, it’s that he loves shooters. Throw in the fact that Monty Williams was on the record to say he (Shamet) is someone “I’d want my daughter to marry” and the fit checks two boxes from a personnel standpoint.

I’ve given this trade some time to digest with free agency in mind, but now that things have settled on that front it seems like an appropriate time to dive into things.

Playing Time + Role

The second unit (as of now) looks to be: Payne-Shamet-Johnson-Smith-McGee with Nader waiting in the wings. Time will tell if Smith can secure that final spot in the rotation, but I expect Nader to temporarily fill the “Torrey Craig role” if Smith isn’t able to.

Shamet figures to be able to play alongside any of Payne, Paul, or Booker which makes his fit fairly seamless on the surface. His ability to relocate off the ball combined with his shooting gravity makes him a lethal floor-spacing threat, but you already knew that.

I’m excited to see that trio of Payne, Shamet, and Johnson in particular off the bench because against second units they should be able to feast. They have the firepower to really unleash and go on one of those dangerous knockout punch type of runs at any moment.

Film Breakdown

I put together a video focusing on his off-ball movement, shooting gravity, and defense with how it relates to Phoenix’s system. After reviewing some film, I came away feeling much better about his defensive ability and basketball IQ.

Hope you enjoy the video!

I thought Brooklyn did a decent job of using him in actions, but ultimately their offense was never really an issue and at times he could become redundant with Joe Harris out there. Phoenix’s balanced offensive attack and constant ball movement figure to be a much better fit for Shamet. Maybe he’ll even be able to breakout more frequent self-creation flashes, we shall see.

Shooting Gravity

Bench players in the NBA last season to shoot over 38% from three (on 5+ attempts per game) while shooting greater than 84% from the free-throw line:

  • Tyrese Haliburton
  • Joe Ingles
  • Davis Bertans
  • Landry Shamet

I know, I know, those are specific statistical cutoffs that cater to Shamet but found them appropriate in order to see what type of company he was in. It’s a good list.

To get familiar with where his hot zones are, here are a couple of shooting charts to help you visualize the Landry Shamet experience.

Shot Chart:

If he can improve by just a few percentage points from the top of the key he should be well over 40% next season from deep.

Heat Map:

Shamet’s Fit

The more I think about Shamet’s fit offensively the more excited I get, especially when zeroing in on the fact mentioned above on how he can play alongside any of Phoenix’s guards. Having a capable reserve backcourt of Payne and Shamet will give Phoenix the depth they need to withstand the short turnaround time and grueling 82-game season.

I’m particularly excited to see what kind of creative screen actions they run him through off-the-ball, especially considering how focused defenses can get on stopping Phoenix in the P&R or in denying Ayton (and now McGee) down low. Opponents are going to have to pick their poison on nearly every single possession.

Random thought to sprinkle in since we are talking about the guard rotation, but if Chris Paul isn’t going to suit up in back-to-backs, the Elfrid Payton signing makes even more sense as he’s a capable spot backup that can eat minutes. Shamet also fits nicely with Payton who is more of a defense-first guard that can get a team into sets while Landry spaces the floor.

Below is a video that displays his microwave shooting ability. Don’t expect 30 points every night (obviously), but he’s more than capable of getting hot in a hurry and swinging the momentum of a game. I know many Suns fans wanted JJ Redick for quite some time over the years, and Shamet could be the next best thing on that front with plenty of untapped potential to boot.

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