In advance of the 2018 NBA Draft, Peachtree Hoops will be breaking down prospects, both from the college ranks and internationally, with an eye toward what the Atlanta Hawks will be evaluating in the coming days. More than 50 prospects will be profiled in this space and, in the end, the goal is to inform Hawks fans prior to June 21, when the Hawks are scheduled to make four selections with the first 34 picks.
Today’s edition examines Wichita State guard Landry Shamet.
Despite a disappointing exit in the first round of the NCAA tournament for Wichita State, Landry Shamet declared for the NBA Draft after his sophomore season (though he’s already 21 years old due to a redshirt season) and looks to be a first-round pick solidly in the range of Atlanta’s No. 19 (or No. 30) selection. Standing 6’4 with an unofficial 7’0 wingspan, Shamet projects to be an off-guard at the NBA level, a position that will complement him on both ends of the floor, as he doesn’t quite have the handle, vision, or passing to be a primary ball handler on offense nor the tremendous lateral quickness to stick to opposing point guards defensively.
Shamet had the ball in his hands a ton with the Shockers at the collegiate level, but his offensive role at the NBA level will not call upon him to be a primary creator. That should suit him just fine, as he was absolutely lethal as a spot-up threat during his sophomore season.
Shamet finished in the 99th percentile among all Division I players last season in spot-up efficiency, per Synergy, on respectable volume, especially considering he used more possessions as a pick-and-roll ball handler than he did as a spot-up shooter. While spot-up possessions encapsulate drives to the basket and pull-up jumpers as well as catch-and-shoot jumpers, the latter is where Shamet excelled.
He scored more than 1.5 points per possession on 110 catch-and-shoot jumpers; only two players in all of Division I were more efficient on higher volume than he was last season. Overall, Shamet got up almost six attempts per game and ranked 13th in the country in three-point percentage at 44.2 percent. His knockdown shooting from outside is what’s keeping him in the first round on draft boards and what will keep him in rotations in the league.
Though it goes in at a high rate, his NBA coaches will have to work with him on the technique of his three-point shot, as it comes out a little flat and in front of his face rather than above his head. Watch below how low his release point is, which makes it easier for defenders to bother him or potentially get a finger on the ball:
Shamet’s three-point stroke transferred well to his ability to make shots on the move. He can hit shots going in either direction, which can be a difficult task for a shooter. Usually, players have a strong preference to come off toward their left or right because the footwork feels more natural, but Shamet gets his feet squared to the basket in both directions equally well.
Outside of his outside shot, Shamet has some potential as a secondary pick-and-roll operator. All his reps as a primary threat at Wichita State will hold him in good stead as he moves forward to the NBA level, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be able to develop into that primary ball handler against quicker and stronger defenders.
His length and height help him to find passes smaller players cannot, but he lacks advanced handle and shake to really make it work as an every-possession point guard. He’ll have the ability to pull up off the dribble if defenders try to duck under a ball screen, which automatically makes him a threat in the pick-and-roll:
Shamet’s inside game isn’t nearly as strong as his outside game—he pulls up for a lot of jumpers rather than getting to the rim, where he’s not the most explosive athlete and has trouble finishing over or around bigger players. He doesn’t turn the corner in pick-and-roll to get to the rim and will settle for some low-efficiency mid-range shots, but taking the ball out of his hands as a primary creator should curb that behavior significantly.
Defensively, that 7’0 wingspan can help paper over any mistakes he makes individually and in the team concept. While not a strong vertical athlete, he’s got good lateral quickness for his size and uses his length well to contest when he forces a pull-up jumper.
At just 188 pounds, Shamet will have to get stronger to defend his position at the NBA level, but with some growth physically he should be able to do well enough defensively to hold his spot in an NBA rotation. He didn’t get knocked around too much at the collegiate level, but 2 guards are a lot bigger in the NBA than in the AAC. Alternatively, his coaches could make him into a primary stopper at the point-of-attack if he were to forgo increased strength for increased quickness, as his length would make him an interesting choice to defend point guards in the NBA.
While it’s unlikely he’ll be a positive difference-maker on defense, Shamet’s offensive game will be enough to warrant his non-lottery first-round selection, should he go in that range in June’s draft. He’ll be able to hit spot-up jumpers from day one, can hit shots on the move, and is smart about relocating along the perimeter. When he doesn’t have the shot, he can run a small amount of secondary pick-and-roll late in the clock and find simple passes or hit a pull-up jumper, with defenses forced to go over screens and respect his three-point shot, which will give him necessary space in the paint to make the right play.
He’s not a flashy pick with a ton of upside, but with a mid-first like the No. 19 overall pick, Shamet’s looks to be a good player with a well-defined role in the league.