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Sixers select Landry Shamet with 26th overall pick

The selection of the Shocker comes as a shocker.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Marshall vs Wichita State Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Barring another unexpected, after-the-fact trade, the Philadelphia 76ers and their multi-headed executive team have selected Landry Shamet with the 26th overall pick. The 6’5” guard from Wichita State is somewhat of a surprise pick, not having been a consensus first-round pick across different outlets. Woj wasn’t even prepared to spell Shamet’s name correctly.

Many people felt the Sixers would use this pick for a draft-and-stash selection or a sliding Robert Williams. Instead, Shamet is the selection, after shooting better than 43% each of his last two seasons at Wichita State. We know Philadelphia values maximizing shooting around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid; Shamet fits the bill.

Additional analysis forthcoming. For now, thoughts on the pick?

Extended analysis below (post-draft).

Given some time to think it over, I’m still lukewarm at best on this pick. First, the positives. The offensive fit for Shamet in Philadelphia is obvious. The former Shocker is an outstanding shooter in all manners of the game, be it spotting up, working off the dribble, or running off screens. Shamet was in the 99th percentile last year in scoring off catch-and-shoot jumpers, and the 86th percentile in jumpers off the dribble. Brett Brown will grab the dog-eared J.J. Redick/Marco Belinelli playbook off the shelf, add Shamet’s name in the margins, and let Ben Simmons’ exceptional court vision do the rest.

The 21-year-old Shamet brings more to the table than just shooting on the offensive end though. He offers a combo guard skill set, having led the Shockers at 5.2 assists per game as a redshirt sophomore. Shamet makes good decisions with the ball in his hands, sporting a 2.4 assist-to-turnover ratio last season. We saw firsthand in the second round loss to Boston how crucial it is to have as many ball handlers on the floor as possible. When the intensity ramps up in the playoffs and opposing defenses have scouted your offensive sets extensively, it’s imperative to have guys who can go and create something off the dribble. Shamet represents another strong secondary ball handler for the Sixers.

With all that being said, the defensive end is concerning. Shamet stands 6’5” tall, but was measured at the combine with just a 6’6.75” wingspan. Although he tries hard on defense, Shamet doesn’t have the size and strength to deal with larger wings, and quicker guards will blow by him. The hope is that he can be coached up to be an average defender within a team concept, but flashbacks to Boston working switches to isolate against Redick and Belinelli provide little comfort about Shamet’s ability to excel within a playoff rotation.

Ultimately, Shamet’s selection at 26th overall feels like a reach. Most people had him as a second-round pick, so taking him with the 38th pick would have felt much more palatable. If the Sixers wanted to maximize the value of this pick, they could have traded it and received a better return than what they received for trading #38. Or, they could have drafted Robert Williams, a projected late lottery pick, and someone who would have been a terrific backup for Joel Embiid with plenty of upside to boot. The fact that Williams went one pick later to the Celtics is a tough pill to swallow.

In the last two days, the Sixers made four trades involving their 2018 draft picks. Curiously, this 26th pick was the only one where Philadelphia stayed put and kept the guy whose name they submitted to the podium (at least for now). Time will tell if Shamet justifies the organization’s confidence in him.

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