A fun subplot saved us from another boring blowout last night.
Thankfully the theme of “Sixers destroy another cupcake at home” will soon come to an end, as they get set to welcome the likes of Houston, Oklahoma City, and San Antonio at the end of this month.
But Tuesday night belonged to Landry Shamet, who put up a career-high 29 points in just 24 minutes of play.
The rookie was lights out coming off the bench, hitting 8 of 14 three pointers and going 5 for 5 from the foul line.
Sixers’ PR dug up a pair of fantastic stats from the performance:
- The only 76ers rookie to score more points coming off the bench in franchise history was MIKE DUNLEAVY SR. (32 points against Portland on Dec. 11, 1976)
- His eight three-pointers are the most made ever by a 76ers rookie and are tied for the third-most made by a rookie in NBA history. The previous 76er high was set by Hall of Famer ALLEN IVERSON (three times) and HOLLIS THOMPSON (once)
Shamet’s college high was 30 points, which he earned in a 2017 game at Oklahoma State. He converted 14 of 16 free throws in that game as a guy who really played a much different style at Wichita State. Landry was more of a point guard and less of an off-ball two-guard, which makes last night’s fantastic performance, and everything he’s done this season, even more impressive.
Scouting Shamet and the JJ Comparisons
Brett Brown gives credit to former assistant coach Jim O’Brien for scouting Shamet. O’Brien is in a new role this season as a “Senior Advisor to the Head Coach,” but obviously still has Brown’s ear:
When you lose JJ [Redick], you try to find other ways to score and we sure found ways to score in (Landry). He just came out and caught it and shot it. One of the things that Coach Jim O’Brien spotted, I think in the first, for me it was like the first minute that we brought him into a gym and worked him out, was his ability to get a shot off quick. There is no dip, he’s not trying to get hand position on the ball. He can receive a ball and shoot a ball at the level that he catches it. He doesn’t have to bring it down or bring it over (Brown makes a side to side motion with his hands). It really was one of the attractions when we watched him work out and it was Coach O’Brien that was on it first and you saw it at its best tonight, where he could catch and get shots off quick. The wiggle room in our league is so small, the ability to do that ends up really being an incredible advantage as you move forward in your career; can you get shots off against elite NBA athletes, and tonight he did.
Yep, it’s a very good trait that Landry has.
I think you see that on a sequence like this:
That’s a very Redick-like play.
It’s just a two-man elbow game, same thing Redick and Embiid have run about 25,000 times this year. Shamet feels the Jeff Green over-play, runs him back into Mike Muscala, and then catches and releases in that lightning-quick fashion.
Doesn’t look like much, but that’s really high-level stuff, stuff that makes it look like Redick’s presence has really rubbed off on Shamet.
I asked Brett Brown about that last night. When we walk into the gym after practice, one of the things we always see is Shamet working with Redick on the near court, just shooting three pointers and jumpers and various other exercises. Are they similarly attached in portions of practice that we don’t see? Has Redick’s tutelage shown itself in any other forms?
“You’ve identified the most prominent attachment, the most obvious visual attachment that we all see. They go together at practice. They do it all the time. The spin offs, the ripple effects of him just being around JJ Redick, as a fellow shooter and watching his preparation and watching him go upstairs and seeing the food that he eats, jumping in ice tubs, getting massage therapy, going in early on game days and kind of getting a double shoot-around – everybody knows that JJ is maniacal in his preparation and in taking care of his body. That is the prize. That’s the golden rule that, to me, he may share the same thing, from the outside looking in that is the golden rule that I think he’s acquired the most. It’s not just shooting with JJ, it’s all of that, everything else that goes along with JJ Redick as a human being and a pro that is just a wonderful example for a young player.”
Ironically, in that clip I showed you, Shamet hasn’t been great shooting the ball from that area this season. He’s only 18 for 60 in three pointers taken from that right side of the arc, while he excels from the left and middle portions of the floor, plus the corners:
Plus/minus in three-point shooting =
- Left side: +8.2% above league average
- Middle: +7.6% above league average
- Right side: -5.3% below league average
That’s natural for a right-handed shooter playing in a motion offense with a lot of dribble hand-off. More often than not, you’re going to be more comfortable starting in the left corner or on the left wing, then brushing off Embiid or Muscala or Amir Johnson and squaring into a shot with your shooting hand on the outside.
That, again, is very Redick-esque.
DHO off the Embiid screen, one dribble, turn and square, quick release.
JJ similarly has great numbers from that spot on the floor, and while he’s better from the right side than Shamet is, Landry is shooting better from the high arc and the right corner:
JJ is 34 years old. He’s not gonna be around forever. He might not even be around next season.
Shamet’s performance last night should make Sixers fans feel pretty good about a pure shooting replacement for a few years to come. It’s good to see a late-first round draft pick actually work out for this team.
- Haywood Highsmith and Shake Milton both pulled double duty Tuesday. The pair played in the Blue Coats game earlier in the afternoon, then were both called upon for this matchup a few hours later. Highsmith hit a three-pointer in his Sixers’ debut while Milton played a combined 58 minutes for both clubs, scoring 4 points for the Sixers and 33 for the Blue Coats.
- Joel Embiid only played 23 minutes but still finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds. He’s well-rested for part two of this home-and-home series with Washington.
- Jimmy Butler shot 8-9 on his return from an upper respiratory infection.
- Mike Muscala needs to find a way to get it going. He was 1-3 last night for 3 points with 5 rebounds and 4 assists.
- Wilson Chandler took two shots and scored two points. The Sixers don’t need their power forwards to score when other guys are lighting it up, but it would be nice to get a decent scoring game out of Chandler or Muscala every once in a while.
- Embiid “doesn’t like” taking threes but was 2-4 from beyond the arc last night.
- The Sixers struggled out of the gates, then hit a shot while DJ Ghost was playing 2Pac over the loudspeakers. He went on to play more old school hip hop songs while the Sixers built a 20-point lead. I can’t prove it right now, but I’m convinced they are better in the half court when 90s hip hop is on the playlist. I think the obvious path forward is to play more 90s hip hop.
Last word goes to Jimmy:
The Sixers had 39 assists tonight in drubbing the Wizards, tying for the most in a game by a Philly team since April 12,1994 at Detroit. Johnny Dawkins was diming that night. https://t.co/HJNI9bwvBw pic.twitter.com/oJGMFh587q
— James Buckets (@_JimmyMcCormick) January 9, 2019