June 21, 2018
Now that you've all settled down from the roller coaster ride the Sixers went on over the course of the first 16 picks, we have a decidedly less exciting pick to talk about. Using their own No. 26 pick, Philadelphia opted to select Witchita State's Landry Shamet, a nominal point guard who is a bit of a puzzling selection at the end of the first round.
First, the good news: Shamet is absolutely going to shoot at the next level, and will provide value there no matter where he ends up in the NBA. Over the course of three seasons in Witchita, Shamet shot 43.7 percent from deep on over five attempts per game, and supplemented that with great indicators from the free-throw line. Shamet shot 81.1 percent from the line on 201 total attempts from the charity stripe.
Needless to say, the Sixers are in desperate need of that sort of shooting wherever they can get it. Because they have a non-traditional point guard in Ben Simmons, they can acquire point-guard sized players to play off of him that don't necessarily have to shoulder a huge creative burden. At a shade over 6'5" with a wingspan of just under 6'7", the Witchita product gives you a decent-sized shooter at the very least.
What's more, he gives you something off-the-dribble or off-the-catch. The Sixers can use all the shooting off-the-dribble they can get, and Shamet is more than capable of delivering on that front.
But that may be just about all you're getting out of Shamet if he stays on the Sixers' roster in the near and short-term. He's got a relatively thin frame and was up-and-down when dealing with contact at the college level, which isn't going to get better for him once he's in the league. That problem manifests itself getting into finishing positions in the first place, and Shamet struggles to create separation for himself when asked to take on initiation duties.
In addition to those concerns, Shamet's shot might not translate as nicely as you'd hope for someone who shot it like he did in college. He has a low release point for a guy his size, and the jury is out on just how much that could impact him down the line.
An optimist would point out that Shamet is a high IQ player and might be able to find a way regardless, and that's a completely fair point. He has good vision as a passer, was a relatively low turnover player despite threading the needle between safety and risk, and ultimately should bring decent value on the offensive side of the ball.
On the other side of the ball, his size should aid him to some degree, but I'm not sure what you're hoping for in terms of ceiling outcome. You're probably crossing your fingers that he gets to average on the defensive side of the ball, but even that feels like a bit of a stretch. The strength concerns on offense carry over here, and he's not all that great at navigating through screens, which could prove problematic at the next level.
There's also the question of whether he ends up staying here at all, or is able to get minutes in the event he does. The Sixers are going to be developing both of Markelle Fultz and Zhaire Smith next season, and add on the minutes T.J. McConnell is sure to get, and the pool continues to shrink.
I would've opted to go a different route here, and the player who went to the Boston Celtics with the very next pick (Robert Williams of Texas A&M) felt like he would have been great value there. The Sixers desperately need a legitimate backup plan behind Embiid, and have shown repeatedly they don't believe Richaun Holmes is that guy. Williams was a great option to go that route, had they decided to pursue it.
Alas, Shamet was the pick, and we will all have to wait and see how his Sixers career unfolds from here.
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