Out of all the players the Washington Wizards acquired last offseason, Landry Shamet perhaps went the most under the radar. When discussing the depth chart, the team’s assets, or the future of the franchise, Shamet is very rarely mentioned by Wizards fans and pundits alike. That made sense as Shamet, despite being 26 years old, bounced around the league and is on his fifth team in six seasons. No one was expecting much from him, but so far, he has been one of the most impactful players on the Wizards this season.
Shamet has his physical and athletic limitations. He is a small, under-athletic shooting guard who struggles to defend his position. He is unlikely to ever be a full-time starter in this league. But, he knows how to play. He has had plenty of playoff experience in his career and plays a smart, steady style of basketball. He has played more high-level basketball than most of his teammates in Washington. And that shows.
Every time Shamet steps on the court, the Wizards look like a much better team. He opens up the floor for his teammates with his high-volume three-point shooting. He attempts the most threes per 100 possessions on the team and is a constant threat coming off screens.
Yet, he is not just a pure three-point shooter. He rarely turns the ball over or makes mistakes. He has some ball-handling skills, giving him the ability to attack closeouts and make the extra pass or get to the rim from there. He already had some impressive dunks this season.
As a result of this, the Wizards have performed much better in Shamet’s minutes. In the 193 minutes he played this season, Washington is 13.5 points per 100 possessions better than when he is off the floor. This is the second-highest mark on the team. In fact, when Shamet is playing, the Wizards only get outscored by 1.5 points per 100 possessions, a respectable number that would make Washington a competitive NBA team.
However, Shamet is only playing 16 minutes per game. Similar to the rest of the team, Shamet is a victim of the crowded backcourt rotation. It may be hard to find him more playing time when Jordan Poole, Tyus Jones, Bilal Coulibaly, and Corey Kispert are ahead of him in the rotation. It will be even more difficult when Delon Wright returns from injury.
Shamet is a solid player and makes the Wizards look more like a real NBA team when he is out there. Coach Wes Unseld Jr. needs to find him a larger role. Perhaps the front office can assist him by making moves to thin out the crowded backcourt.