Wichita State product Landry Shamet has impressed many during his rookie season in the NBA.
Kevin Durant included.
The former NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP came away impressed with the Los Angeles Clippers rookie after the Golden State Warriors’ 131-104 victory on Sunday night.
Shamet led the Clippers with 17 points but had 15 by halftime on five three-pointers. At the break, the Warriors, NBA champions three of the past four seasons, had to alter their game plan by switching the 6-foot-9 Durant onto Shamet to slow down the Kansas City native.
“He’s an amazing young player and I think he will be a force in this league for a while, especially the way he plays,” Durant told the media afterward. “Credit to him that we had to switch our game plan up for him.”
After declaring for the NBA Draft after his redshirt sophomore season at Wichita State, Shamet has selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the No. 26 pick in last June’s draft. He was traded to the Clippers in a blockbuster deal in early February.
Shamet, who has averaged 9.1 points with 26 starts, has followed with a historic rookie season from beyond the arc. His 164 made three-pointers are fifth all-time for an NBA rookie, and Shamet still has one more game to pass Stephen Curry and Luka Doncic at 166 for third place. Of the players on the top-10 all-time list, Shamet’s 42.3-percent accuracy ranks behind only Curry.
When Shamet got his stroke going in the first half against the Warriors, Durant knew Golden State would have to make an adjustment in order to slow down the Clippers’ main source of offense.
“He got it going on us and usually when guys get it going from the wing, cCoach usually throws me on them to slow them down a bit,” Durant said. “I had to use a lot of my energy to guard him and I think tonight the game plan was to kind of shut that off, and we did. That kind of took a little bit of energy they had because he was flying around, shooting one-dribble pullup threes, getting to the rim, drawing and kicking.
“I tried to take on the challenge of just chasing him around and using my length, and I was able to cut some of that stuff off.”
Shamet will play in the NBA playoffs his first season. The Clippers (47-34) are guaranteed a spot in the Western Conference bracket, but it is still unclear if they will be the No. 6, No. 7 or No. 8 seed. If they fall to No. 8, the Clippers would get a rematch with the Warriors in the first round.
Fellow Shockers alumnus Fred VanVleet will also be in the playoffs — the Toronto Raptors (57-24) have secured the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.