Philadelphia 76ers: It’s time to pump the breaks on Landry Shamet

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

First round draft pick Landry Shamet performed well in the preseason, but let’s take a step back and relax with the hype surrounding the Philadelphia 76ers rookie.

Landry Shamet came out of the gates roaring for the Philadelphia 76ers this preseason, putting up double-digits in two of the three games against fellow NBA teams (sorry Melbourne United). Shamet, a late first-round pick in this past year’s draft, displayed a shooting stroke silky enough to wrap around your favorite pillow and rest your head on after a long day in the office.

The former Wichita State Shocker first surfaced in Sixers fan scuttlebutt after a relatively overlooked rookie stood out in the plethora of reserves to take the court, scoring 12 points and going 50 percent from the field against the Orlando Magic. The kid had a smooth shot, something we haven’t seen out of a rookie since the onset of “The Process.”

Across the globe, a mere 7,100 miles away from the Wells Fargo Center, Shamet topped his previous performance by dropping 18 points, only to be one-upped by J.J. Redick‘s perfect performance. That didn’t subdue the buzz Shamet was generating as he was impressing fans alike.

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Entering the start of the regular season, it was unclear what role Shamet would play on a Sixers team coming off of a season where they exceeded expectations, yet somehow managed to disappoint. Adding to the pain of an embarrassing series against the Boston Celtics came the departure of two key role players off the bench, Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova. Pile Wilson Chandler and Zhaire Smith’s injuries on top of all that and you have a deadly combination of a promising young player and an abundance of extra minutes to fill.

Following a disappointing season opening loss in Boston, Shamet took a bulk of the minutes off the bench in Philadelphia’s home opener against the Chicago Bulls, scoring 12 points with four 3-pointers and revealing defensive abilities that were previously questioned.

Following the season’s first victory over Chicago, fans took to the message boards to express their excitement in the rookie. “Shamet looked awful useful for a late 1st rookie” one fan exclaimed, to which another responded “Shamet looked wonderful. I hope he gets more minutes.” Other comments regarding his shot didn’t pass my sensor to reach the contents of this piece, but I’ll assure you they were colorfully hopeful.

On the first of a two-game road trip in Detroit, Shamet received the call to the starting lineup, albeit on behalf of a Ben Simmons back injury and to ensure that Redick provide a more definitive source of points off the bench. In 24 minutes, the rookie was a non factor going only 1-of-4 from 3-point range and finished with five points to go along with two assists.

One game later in Milwaukee, on primetime television, Shamet saw just over eight minutes of action and hit one franticly heaved buzzer beater to escape a shot clock violation that somehow clanked off the backboard and through the net. He appeared shaken and panicked whenever he touched the ball, and his smooth game of the preseason was lost in the bright lights of ESPN Wednesday Night.

So we’ve seen both sides of the late first rounder and it’s time we step back to let the kid grow. It’s rare you score a player outside of the top 20 who will come in and make an immediate impact. The NBA preseason is just that, it’s the preseason in a league that seems to wait until the fourth quarter of regular season games to step on the gas full force.

Shamet is in a phenomenal spot for growth early in his career, taking notes on how to shake a defender off ball and get an open look, watching the veteran Redick do so each night and in practice. He went to Wichita State and enjoyed a successful career, but he was running the point guard position and was not a consistent game changer.

In his final season, Shamet’s success was hit or miss. One game he’s dropping 30 points and five dimes on the road in Stillwater against middle of the pack Big 12 opponent Oklahoma State and the next minute failing to hit double digits in points while going 20 percent from the field in a conference loss at Houston.

As a No. 4 seed, Shamet and company were shocked by No. 13 seed Marshall, giving the Shockers a taste of their own medicine and sending them home from an NCAA tournament they entered with high hopes of a deep run after one game. In the contest, Shamet struggled to put up points and all four of his turnovers came in the final half of play.

So it’s not as if Shamet has an extensive resume of competing in high stakes environments with lofty expectations. He may very well be a significant contributor for the Sixers this year off the bench, but give the kid some time to get acclimated to the NBA environment.

For crying out loud, at this time last year he was enjoying life in Wichita, and now, he’s tossed into one of the largest sports markets in the country on a team that is in the back pocket of the national media, there to pull out for a brief mention when LeBron James has an off day.

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Sure, once Wilson Chandler and fellow first-round pick Smith return from injury, the “Shamwow” (nah, we’re not allowing that one to catch on) madness may subside. But for now, a consistent 15 to 20 minutes off the bench is the perfect formula for Shamet to gain experience while contributing what he can to the team and groom into a reliable sixth man for the future.