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L.A. Clippers 2019-20 Player Preview: Landry Shamet Is On the Radar

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The second-year guard has quickly made a name for himself.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Utah Jazz Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Basic Information:

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 188 lbs

Age: 22

Position: G

NBA Experience: 1 year

Key Stats: Acquired from the 76ers on February 6, 2019, with Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, and two first-round draft picks. Appeared in 79 games total, starting 27. In 25 games (23 starts) with the Clippers, Shamet averaged 10.9 points and 2.3 assists, converting 45% of his three-point attempts, of which he fired six per game.

Contract Status: Entering the second year of a two-year, $3.7 million pact. The Clippers hold club options for 2020 and 2021.

Expectations:

Substantially higher than they were one year ago. Hell, substantially higher than they were six months ago.

Shamet was selected 26th overall in the 2018 NBA Draft after three years at Wichita State. He was thought to be, you know, fine. (If you thought about him much at all, that is.) A combo guard with the name I mistakenly pronounced en français who could shoot and maybe make some plays in a pinch. Then the rumors started that he looked like an off-brand JJ Redick for the team that employed the authentic JJ Redick. Then he was traded to the team that used to employ JJ Redick. Then he drilled a game-winning three against the Warriors in the playoffs, earned a spot on the All-Rookie second team, and drew a curmudgeonly scolding from Bill Simmons. (Oops, I’m an aggregator now.)

Suddenly, Shamet just looks like JJ Redick. Maybe even JJ Redick version 1.1. (Feel free to increase per your personal optimism.)

Much will be asked of Landry Shamet in his second year. His brand of shoot-then-shoot-again-then-shoot-some-more-then-maybe-run-a-pick-and-roll basketball should form a delectable pairing with Kawhi Leonard’s and Paul George’s signature wines. (Gregg Popovich gets credited as the league’s premier sommelier, but I prefer this Clippers front office in metaphorical terms.) Those teammates, and that hypothetical cohesion, will bring an increase in all things: talent, production, attention, and pressure.

I know how to say Shamet’s name now, and so does everybody else.

Strengths:

Just google “JJ Redick”.

Weaknesses:

Just google “JJ Redick.”

...

OK, fine, I’ll do my job. Landry Shamet isn’t JJ Redick. But, dammit, if he doesn’t play like him. Shoots the lights out; is in constant motion off-ball; solid and improving secondary ballhandler; lacks ideal lateral agility defensively.

Look, seriously, I didn’t just copy-paste every JJ Redick preview for the last decade. They really are THAT similar. You want differences? Shamet is listed as being an inch taller. Shamet is a better ballhandler at this age. (He’s also a more accomplished shooter at this age too, but so is the average player versus the average player in 2006. Chalk it up to the evolution of the game.)

As I see it, there are two key ways in which Shamet’s progression may stray from Redick’s. On the positive side, Shamet is longer. He’s like JJ Redick: The Director’s Cut. As the self-deprecating Redick is fond of pointing out, he has a negative wingspan. That means his arms cover less distance from fingertip to fingertip than from head to foot. That’s mildly unusual among humans in general but downright exceptional among humans who play professional basketball. It exacerbates the disadvantages of his relative lack of stature.

Shamet, conversely, measured to a roughly 6’7” wingspan at the draft combine. (I have no idea how reports of his alleged 7’0” tentacles originated. Officially, Shamet is neither Dwyane Wade nor Kraken.) No one will accuse Shamet of being huge, but his size is adequate. Doc has even shown a willingness to play him up a position, something we may see much more infrequently since the Clippers added two huge and elite wings.

The other divergence may be in potential, or rather, Shamet’s ability to reach his. JJ Redick maximized his physical tools in a way few players do. Redick wrung every last goddamn ounce of production out his tyrannosaur-armed body. I’m not saying Shamet doesn’t have a work ethic. It sure seems like it does. That he was invited to the USA’s Basketball Select Team camp was evidence of his talent, both realized and projected. But career arcs like Redick’s are rare. You don’t always replace Wes Welker with Julian Edelman. Sometimes you get Braxton Berrios.

Shamet will have to produce while he’s improving, and do so while playing for the NBA’s prohibitive title favorite. It’s fine. I’m sure JJ Redick would’ve loved the chance to try that.