PHOENIX SUNS

Landry Shamet happy to land with Suns’ fitting style and ‘idol’ CP3

Sep 23, 2021, 11:25 AM | Updated: 11:26 am
In this June 7, 2021, file photo, Brooklyn Nets guard Landry Shamet (20) passes the ball as Milwauk...

In this June 7, 2021, file photo, Brooklyn Nets guard Landry Shamet (20) passes the ball as Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) defends during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File)

Landry Shamet has lived a good NBA life since going pro three years ago, even as he readies to play for his fourth team when his fourth pro season starts.

He’s only 24 years old and has been traded three times, yet Shamet has piled up a long list of experiences on legitimate playoff teams.

When the Brooklyn Nets traded him to the Phoenix Suns before this past NBA Draft, it was nothing startling to the 6-foot-4 guard who has established himself as one of the elite shooters in the league.

“I felt like, looking at it from a team perspective, they had to make some sort of move given the pieces and what we had … it made sense,” Shamet told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta. “That’s just the business of it. It’s always surprising to an extent when you hear, ‘Hey, you’ve been traded.’ I kind of had a hunch and a feeling from what I was hearing, that sort of thing, that I might be on the move.

“I had a couple different destinations in mind that I thought were going to come to fruition. I’m just glad it was Phoenix.”

Shamet isn’t completely unfamiliar with the Suns. Out of Wichita State, he was the 26th overall pick by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2018. That draft class included current Phoenix starters Deandre Ayton and Mikal Bridges (Bridges was drafted by the 76ers at No. 10 but traded to the Suns on draft night).

Suns head coach Monty Williams was an assistant on the Philadelphia staff and became a mentor to Shamet during his rookie year.

But maybe more than the people he already knows in Phoenix, Shamet said playing with point guard Chris Paul might strike him differently.

“I haven’t told him yet,” Shamet said of Paul, “but he was probably my first favorite player growing up. I was wearing his signature shoes, got a jersey of his for Christmas one year. Little middle school me, he was my idol. That thing more than anything is really cool. As far as guys I’ve played with, I’ve played with a lot of them so far, I think Chris is definitely the most craziest one for me, in my evolution, for sure.

“And honestly, I’ve played with a number of those type of guys, superstar-level guys, where it’s not as crazy anymore. But I think this one adds like a sentimental, ‘I grew up on this guy.'”

Shamet is quite aware of how he fits on the Suns, playing off Paul and Devin Booker.

His style — moving off the ball and keeping the ball moving when he’s not firing away — has complemented All-Stars with the Sixers (Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons), the Los Angeles Clippers (Kawhi Leonard and Paul George) and Brooklyn Nets (Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving).

His playoff experience is extensive, too. Shamet has played 20.1 minutes on average over 31 playoff games despite his age.

Knowing Williams already, it would be expected he can play a key rotation role coming off a season in which he averaged 4.2 points on 44% shooting and 39% accuracy from three-point range.

His Nets fell in the Eastern Conference Semifinals to the eventual-champion Milwaukee Bucks last year, and Shamet is excited to bring his fundamentally sound game to a team that makes fundamentally sound team basketball its M.O.

“Phoenix was always one of my favorite teams this year, just how they played and you could tell, you could feel it,” he said. “Anytime you laced up against the Suns, the camaraderie, the connectivity from head coach down to the last guy on the bench, it all felt like they knew they were on the same page. They play the right way, too, which I always really respected.

“Their run in the playoffs, it wasn’t really surprising to me. I was expecting them to be the best team out of the West, I always thought that. And it was just kind of cool to see it come to fruition. I know a lot of these guys, so I was happy for them.”

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