After multiple absences from each player, the LA Clippers could soon be getting Landry Shamet and Rodney McGruder back in the rotation.
The LA Clippers have been doing fine without Landry Shamet and Rodney McGruder, but there’s no denying they’re a better team when both guards are in the rotation. Fortunately, they could each be returning very soon.
According to The Athletic’s Jovan Buha, Shamet will join the team on their upcoming road trip in hopes of returning soon — presumably at some point next week. In addition, McGruder is planning to return Friday when the Clippers travel to Milwaukee to begin the six-game trip.
Shamet has missed 12 games since going down on November 14 with an ankle injury. At the time, the second-year guard was averaging 9.1 points per game and shooting 36.2 percent from three-point range. He’s started in each of the 10 games he’s played in this season, though that could change upon his return.
Since Paul George made his franchise debut and began playing with Kawhi Leonard a few games later, the Clippers have started George, Leonard and Maurice Harkless and the two, three and four, respectively. That doesn’t leave any room for Shamet, who started the season at shooting guard.
Shamet is capable of running point as well, but that would mean removing Patrick Beverley from the starting rotation, and that’s not something LA can afford to do.
That means we’ll be seeing a lot more of Shamet’s minutes coming with the second unit — though it’s hard to say he would be demoted.
The Clippers have had the best bench in the league so far this season, and it’ll only grow stronger upon Shamet’s return. His three-point shooting should be a tremendous help to a unit that features few other threats from range, and his ability to handle the ball should give Lou Williams more of a break.
That said, Shamet will certainly see minutes with George and Leonard, and he’ll benefit greatly from his placement in that group. The spacing that LA’s two stars will create for the sophomore sharpshooter will give him plenty of room to fire away from deep, which will help improve the team’s numbers from three-point range.
McGruder’s return will likely come sooner than Shamet’s, and the Clippers need that to be the case. His injury has forced Jerome Robinson and Terance Mann to take on more significant roles, and LA has struggled because of that. They’re fine players and they provide decent two-way value in short bursts, but neither can match McGruder’s output.
Even with McGruder’s struggles from beyond the arc (he’s made just 31.4 percent of his looks from there), he’s been good for some quick offense here and there. He’s one of the team’s more versatile defenders as well, and he’s been solid on that end of the floor so far this season.
Once Shamet and McGruder return to action (and JaMychal Green‘s tailbone injury heals), we’ll finally be able to see this LA Clippers team at full strength — something we’ve all had to wait far too long for.