Philadelphia 76ers: Landry Shamet is one lucky dude

(Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)
(Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images) /

Despite being on the wrong side of a superstar trade, Philadelphia 76ers draftee Landry Shamet is now a starter on the championship favorite LA Clippers.

Boy, Landry Shamet is one lucky dude.

While a late first round pick being traded midway through their rookie season typically isn’t a great sign – especially when it’s to acquire a max-level contributor – the Philadelphia 76ers inadvertently flipped their reserve shooting guard to a much better situation.

And after the one-two punch of signing Kawhi Leonard and trading his backcourt mate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (and five first-round picks) for Paul George in the wee hours of July 6th, Shamet is now a probable starter on the West’s new championship favorites.

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Talk about a series of fortunate events for the Los Angeles Clippers.

After establishing himself as a potential contributor almost one-year to the day in the 2018 Summer League, Shamet played pretty well for the Sixers as a rookie; averaging 8.3 points on 40.4 3 point shooting percentage in 20.5 minutes of action over 54 regular season games (four starts).

However, Shamet bloomed under the picturesque sun of Los Angeles.

Once he arrived in LA alongside Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala (for about a day), Shamet almost immediately entered the Clippers’ backcourt as the team’s new starting shooting guard – splitting time with fellow former Sixer Lou Williams.

With the green light to shoot from beyond the arc and a more expansive role, Shamet’s stats took a nice little bump up to 10.9 points, 2.3 assists while knocking down 45 percent of his 3s on six attempts a game.

And more importantly, he looked like a starter.

Paired with defense-focused Gilgeous-Alexander, Shamet clearly took J.J. Redick‘s lessons to heart from their shared time in Philly and somehow kept the Clippers in the hunt for a playoff berth despite losing arguably their best player, Tobias Harris, in their deadline skirting trade.

Sure, Shamet alone wasn’t responsible for the team’s 17-8 record down the stretch, but his ability to play both on and off-ball in the Clippers’ three-guard starting five gave Doc Rivers a fresh look and some serious optionality to get creative against pretty much any look an opposing team threw his way.

Play small? Shamet could shift over to small forward.

Play big? Shamet could play shooting guard or even point.

Shamet elevated his play to such a degree that the Clippers went out of their way to keep him in the fray despite flipping SGA and Danilo Gallinari to the Thunder for George.

With five first round picks and a pair of swaps now out the door to Oklahoma City, it’s entirely possible Shamet is the best young player the Clippers will have on their roster for the foreseeable future – giving the team a starting caliber shooting guard for about $2 million in 2019, $2 million in 2020, and a whopping $3.76 million for the 2021-2022 season.

The Sixers’ cheapest starter? Josh Richardson at a low-low $10.5 million a year.

Next. Kawhi Leonard joining Clippers means 76ers have best starting five in Eastern Conference. dark

Now one could argue which player is a better fit with the Philadelphia 76ers moving forward, Josh Richardson and his 3-and-D pedigree, or the team’s departed sixth man and his 40-plus 3 point shooting percentage, but after being traded at the deadline in 2019, things couldn’t have worked out better for Landry Shamet as he enters his sophomore season.