Landry Shamet will probably be a better NBA player than Shabazz Napier, the backup point guard who has been rejuvenated this year in Portland.
This has been Napier’s best season. In his fourth year, LeBron James’ chosen draft pick has become more efficient and snatched the backup guard spot on a Portland roster that badly needed a jolt from its young bench. The main improvement Napier made this year on his way to a career-high .555 true shooting percentage is becoming a better 2-point shooter, finishing at the rim more often and more effectively than ever.
The threat of the pull-up 3 opens it all up. Napier, like the starters in front of him for the Blazers, is a devastating pull-up shooter, ready to pull the trigger if the big man defending the pick-and-roll takes even one step in the wrong direction. It helps Portland maintain its game plan, but Napier’s self-gravity also opens up driving lanes for himself in the middle of the floor. His 2-point percentage is up to .467 from .429.
But Shamet projects to have a similar skill set on offense with better passing ability than Napier, plus the length to be a much more impactful defender. While Napier plays occasionally with the starters, Shamet’s fit in those lineups is also much better, especially if he can bulk up in the NBA and defend wings.