Landry Shamet may fall out of the LA Clippers’ playoff rotation

Landry Shamet LA Clippers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Landry Shamet LA Clippers (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The LA Clippers may shorten up their rotation come playoff times and recent signs have pointed towards Landry Shamet being the odd man out.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This piece was drafted prior to the indefinite suspension of the NBA season and is written with the assumption the LA Clippers and the rest of the league does complete the season in some capacity.

Landry Shamet is having a decent year for the LA Clippers. Not great. Now awful. Decent. He’s only shooting one percent less from the floor then he did last season in his rookie year. His three-point percentage is down but still at a solid 39.8%. His points per game, rebounds, and assists are also down despite his average minutes played being just 0.2 less per game.

Given the additions of Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, it was to be expected that his usage would drop. Even so, it seems like he’s going to end up as the odd man out when it comes to the Clippers’ playoff rotation.

Shamet provides amazing spacing for the team and is the only pure shooter on the team. Prior to the trade deadline and All-Star break, he was at times the first guy off the bench. Even at the start of the year, we predicted he would have a huge role even if his game did not progress.

So what happened?

It’s simple. Reggie Jackson was signed. As much spacing as Shamet can provide, he has not been good as a primary ball-handler. Unfortunately for him, that’s exactly what the team needs coming off of the bench next to Lou Williams.

Doc Rivers even gave him a shot at the second unit one spot once Paul George healed up and re-took the starting two spot. It just didn’t work out. Shamet looked uncomfortable in the role (despite playing some point at Witchita State) and the bench unit suffered.

Due to the issues, Lou Williams was then asked to become more of the second unit’s lead ball-handler and his production dropped.

The addition of Reggie Jackson fixed that and Lou Williams has acknowledged as much. Obviously, this is a good thing for the Clippers. Lou can find his shot and partner with Montrezl Harrell to form the most devastating bench duo in the league.

The problem is it leaves Shamet as the odd man out. Sure, he can come in as the three in a three-guard lineup for the second unit but with so many playoff teams likely staggering their stars (Clippers included), Shamet would often draw an unfavorable matchup.

Instead, expect him to be the one who likely loses minutes or doesn’t even play at all. Over the last few games, his time on the court is already down, playing around 13-14 minutes per game after averaging 27.6  this season and 27.8 last year.

The loss of minutes isn’t an indictment on Shamet’s game but just the reality of the situation. The Clippers will get a ton of scoring from Leonard, George, Williams, Harrell, and even Marcus Morris. With Reggie Jackson being a better running mate off the bench for Williams, Shamet may just have to watch and wait. Luckily for the Clippers, he’s still good and under a cost-controlled contract for another three years, and can only get better.