It’s not hard for Landry Shamet to imagine his fit with the Philadelphia 76ers, the team that selected him with the No. 26 overall pick in June’s NBA Draft.
The Kansas City native is set to join a rising power in the 76ers, a team coming off a 52-win season, with established stars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, and a well-respected coach in Brett Brown.
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“I feel like it’s pretty much the same as when I decided to come to Wichita State,” Shamet said. “I wanted to play with Fred (VanVleet) and Ron (Baker) and play for coach (Gregg) Marshall. Now I’m headed to a really good team with a really good coach that is a contender right away again.”
The guaranteed contract that being a first-round draft pick afforded him ensures Shamet will be on the 76ers’ 15-man roster to open a season, a nice insurance after he sprained his ankle during his first Summer League game in Las Vegas on July 6.
Shamet said it has been a recurring injury since working out for teams before the draft. The 76ers decided to shut him down for the remainder of the Summer League, although Shamet said it wasn’t a serious injury and he fully expects to be 100 percent by the team’s training camp in September.
“It’s frustrating because I wanted to go out there and compete, which is something I haven’t done in awhile,“ Shamet said. “But I had a good mini-camp and played well in front of the coaching staff. They drafted me where they did because they believe in me and they have confidence in me, so I think they know what they’re getting in me.”
The injury did rob Shamet of a chance to display his ability to move off-ball for open jump shots against competition, something he’ll be asked to do with the NBA team.
Shamet is expected to compete for backup minutes at the guard position between Markelle Fultz, T.J. McConnell and Zhaire Smith.
“I’m going to be playing with multiple ball-handlers on the floor, so it’s going to be a different role than at Wichita State,” Shamet said. “But I’m going to benefit from playing with playmakers like those guys. The biggest things for me are knocking down open jump shots, taking pride in the defensive end, and understanding the importance of coach Brown’s culture.”
He hasn’t made a splashy first purchase since signing his multimillion-dollar contract and Shamet said it isn’t likely coming. His top priority is taking care of his mother, Melanie, which included some birthday presents on Wednesday as the two celebrated her birthday together in Vegas.
It’s still an adjustment, Shamet said, realizing his dream has become a reality. It wasn’t until Shamet arrived in Philadelphia, riding in a car to his introductory press conference as a first-round draft pick, that it hit him that his NBA dream had come true.
And since spending time in Philadelphia, he’s been taken aback by the fan support.
“I never thought I would get stopped any more than I did in Wichita,” Shamet said, laughing. “But that’s been the case. The fans in Philly are incredible. They’ve shown me a lot of love and they’re very smart basketball fans and very passionate.”
There is one thing Shamet disagrees on with Sixers fans, though.
“I’m fighting like crazy to explain to people why KC barbeque is the best,” Shamet said. “Philly cheese steaks are good, but maybe it’s an acquired taste. Kansas City barbeque is still it for me.”