SHENZHEN, China — Landry Shamet seems like the perfect fit for the 76ers, and vice versa.
The team is always looking for shooters to space the floor around Joel Embid and Ben Simmons. And the Sixers think they got that in Shamet, the 26th pick in this year's NBA draft.
"When you play with guys like Ben and Joel, it's just going to make your life easier," Shamet said. "You know just having to knock down open looks when they come to you and play defense."
The 6-foot-5, 189-pounder will once again focus on those two things in the preseason game Monday morning against the Dallas Mavericks at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Centre. This is the second of two games the teams will play as part of NBA China Games. The Sixers prevailed, 120-114, on Friday at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai.
Folks might have to pay close attention to Shamet's defense against the Mavs. That's because coach Brett Brown calls him an underrated defender.
But in terms of shooting, he's far from underrated.
As a redshirt sophomore last season at Wichita State, he shot 44.3 percent from the college three-point line. He concluded his college career as a 43.7 percent shooter from long range.
The Sixers didn't want to pass up on the college point guard even though they already have Simmons, Markelle Fultz, and T.J. McConnell as ballhandlers. So they drafted Shamet knowing that he would play shooting guard.
"We looked at him as just a player that could play, like really a highly skilled player," Brown said. "Not a positional-type of draft that we made."
While it's just the preseason, the easy signs point to its being a smart pick.
Shamet has received quality minutes off the bench the last two games while Jerryd Bayless is sidelined with a sprained left knee. He has responded by shooting 5-for-11 (45 percent) on three-pointers in those matchups.
He put on a shooting clinic in the first half Friday. That when Shamet scored 16 of his 18 points. He made 5 of 6 shots while going 3-for-4 on three-pointers in 8 minutes, 57 seconds of action that half.
"It's still preseason," general manager Elton Brand said. "He's still a rookie. But what he's done so far — that's not just the games, but all summer, preseason, practice – he's showed so far that he belongs."
While saying that, Brand doesn't want to put high expectations on a rookie taken late in the first round.
"But," Brand said, "he's played well."
No one in the Sixers organization feels differently.
In fact, the team goes into each preseason game with a plan. Friday night's plan was to give Shamet around 24 minutes to see what he can do.
"He has exceeded expectations," Brown said.