I’m a firm believer that late in the Draft, whether it be the late first or early second round, teams should draft for need. Swing for the fences in the lottery; go for the “best player available” if that’s what the organization needs to do.
However, outside of the Top-20 picks or so, completely different story. Positional need, skill-set need, and situation are determining factors that should be weighed before selecting a young prospect.
As we all know, the Magic were awarded the sixth pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. Regardless of what the Magic decide to do with that pick, one fact remains.
The Orlando Magic ranked 28th out of 30 teams last season in three-point percentage (35%). The Magic also finished 25th in the NBA with an Offensive Rating of 105.2 in ‘17-’18.
These playoffs have reminded us (if we didn’t already know) that successful teams in the NBA can never have enough help on the wings. Players that can stretch the floor, score, have versatility to play multiple positions, and have the ability to handle the basketball (as well as make plays for others) are wanted commodities by NBA front office executives.
The Magic own the 35th and 41st picks in this draft, and there’s a very good chance they can use one of these picks to add wing-depth, shooting, and scoring to the roster.
And I think the wing depth in this class is most plentiful in the 25-45 range, so the Magic are in a great situation to have a look at guys like Grayson Allen, Rawle Alkins, Melvin Frazier, and Jerome Robinson.
I believe the Magic should take an opportunity in this spot to target their guy who can become a contributor from the wing and compliment core pieces already on the roster. If he’s not going to be there at #35, they can try packaging their two picks in an effort to move up (into the 25-30 range for example). The Magic also have Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross, two players with expiring contracts, to work with.
I’m going to provide pieces that take a deeper look at the kind of “wings” the Magic should be targeting in an effort to rebuild their shooting guard/small forward depth.
Third in this series, I profile a versatile guard from Kansas City who opened the season on the Wooden Award Watchlist.
Landry Shamet (21 years old)
6-5, 190 lbs. (6-7 wingspan)
Landry Shamet was forced to overcome more than his fair share of adversity during his college career at Wichita State. Shamet suffered a stress fracture of his left foot three games into his freshmen season back in ‘15-’16. He was then granted a medical redshirt year by the NCAA.
Shamet returned with a vengeance in ’16-’17 (his redshirt freshmen season), earning First-Team Missouri Valley Conference honors to go along with the distinction of being recognized as the Missouri Valley Newcomer/Rookie of the Year.
However, Shamet suffered another significant injury last summer, this time to his right foot (surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right foot).
Wichita State also made the transition this past season to their new conference, the American Athletic Conference. This meant that Shamet had to attempt to rehab while also preparing for all new conference foes.
Shamet handled his recovery beautifully, a testament to his work ethic and understanding of his own body. The third-year guard out of Kansas City led the Shockers to a second-place finish in the AAC and an NCAA Tournament berth in the process (although Wichita State was upset in the First Round by Marshall University). He again garnered First Team All-Conference honors this past season.
Two seasons as a starter, two NCAA tournament appearances. Two separate stress fractures (one in each foot), two different recovery processes that resulted in All-Conference selections. No, Landry Shamet’s time in college never lacked a dull moment.
How could Shamet potentially help the Magic?
Shamet has proven over the last two seasons that he is one of the top shooters in this draft class. He led the AAC in three-point percentage (44.2%) and true shooting percentage (65.5%) last season.
Roughly sixty percent of Shamet’s field goal attempts at Wichita State came from behind the arc (career 43.7% three-point shooter, 3.1 makes per/40).
For the most part, Shamet played the point guard position at Wichita State. However, Shamet possesses the exceptional ability to move without the ball (cutting backdoor, setting up defenders), shoot coming off various types of screen action, etc. I find those traits to be pretty rare in lead guards at the college level who are used to dominating the ball.
Shamet connected on four or more three-point attempts in a game eighteen different times over his 68 game collegiate career.
Secondary play-making ability
Like I mentioned, Shamet primarily played point guard for the Shockers. For reasons such as a lack of athleticism and lateral quickness that I will get into shortly, Shamet projects to be more of a combo-guard/wing at the NBA level.
But his time leading Gregg Marshall’s offense has allowed Shamet to develop essential play-making skills that will help him contribute off the bench in the NBA from the wing position.
He raised his assist percentage from 22.2% his redshirt freshmen season to 28.8% last year, which resulted in Shamet leading the American Athletic Conference is total assists and assists per game.
Shamet is experienced running pick-and-roll action from his time with the Shockers. At 6-5, Shamet was able to make easy reads over the top of his defenders (although, he was primarily guarded by point guards). I like the pace Shamet plays with; I think his vision is adequate for a point guard, and can even be considered above-average for a wing player.
If Shamet had even average NBA athleticism, he would probably be a first round pick. - but that‘s far from the case.
A 21 year-old guard who has already suffered through stress fractures of both his left and right feet is naturally going to be a step or two behind athletically.
Shamet recorded very poor times at last month’s NBA combine in the lane agility (11.26 seconds, 26th among guards tested) and shuttle run (3.21 seconds, 31st) tests.
Shamet did finish in the top-10 at the combine in the three-quarter sprint, showing some downhill quickness. And Shamet recorded a max vertical leap of just under 40 inches at the combine, so maybe his reputation as a complete non-athlete is a bit unfair.
But his below-average lateral quickness and agility is going to push Shamet off the ball at the next level. He just won‘t be able to guard opposing point guards (I don‘t think).
Lack of strength/defensive upside
Herein lies Shamet’s problem. At 6-5, Shamet had a significant size advantage in college playing the lead guard position. Yet due to his lack of lateral quickness, he’s going to be playing on the wing in the NBA, and now he loses that advantage.
At 6-5 with a 6-7 wingspan (8-4 standing reach), Shamet is a very average-sized NBA wing. He’s going to need to get much stronger in his lower-body to be able to defend shooting guards at the next level. He did max-out with 8 reps on the bench press at the combine, which is a much higher number than was expected.
Still, Shamet was never a strong defensive player, even when playing in the Missouri Valley and American Athletic Conferences. Will he be able to slow down the best athletes in the world?
Shamet’s best films:
January 17th vs. SMU - 20 points (7-12 FG’s, 5-10 3PTA’s), 10 assists
March 9th vs. Temple: 24 points (8-10 FG’s, 6-8 3PTA’s), 4 assists, 4 rebounds
Shamet already possesses one elite skill that all NBA clubs are seeking: shooting ability. I think Shamet is more than just a shooter. Within a creative offensive system, Shamet can make positive contributions shooting, scoring, moving without the ball and spacing the floor, as well as facilitating offense for others on the court.
Shamet led the Missouri Valley Conference in Offensive Rating (132.1) and Offensive Box Plus/Minus (7.2) as a freshmen. He also led the American Athletic Conference in OBPM (8.3) last season (finished 2nd with an Offensive Rating of 130.1). If Shamet is out there on the floor, he‘s making an offensive impact in a positive way.
Josh Cohen of NBA.com (Orlando Magic) recognizes that “there’s a lot of things to like about Shamet, and one of them is his high basketball I.Q. He’s a student of the game.” Cohen wrote back in May about Shamet’s ”superb” pick-and-roll abilities, specifically how he puts opposing defenses in difficult positions by being able to find rolling defenders if they go over a screen, while also being able to pull-up and make defenders pay if they go under a screen.
I believe Shamet is very much on Jeff Weltman and John Hammond’s radars. Remember, the American Athletic Conference Tournament was held this past season at the Amway Center in Orlando. Now, the Magic were technically on a West Coast trip during the tournament, but it’s probably safe to assume that someone in Orlando’s front office stayed behind. Shamet happened to make 10 of his 15 3PTA’s during the AAC Tournament in Orlando (2 games), so he’s definitely comfortable shooting inside Amway.
Of course, the Magic also brought Shamet in to Orlando recently for a workout (June 5th). There‘s undeniable interest in Shamet coming from Orlando, and he would make a lot of sense for them.
He‘ll probably never be more than a one-way player, but when drafting in the second round, teams that can select a guy with even one legitimate NBA skill are coming out ahead. Shamet has two.