3 Phoenix Suns Unsung Heroes Stepping Up with Chris Paul Injured

Phoenix Suns, Landry Shamet, Jae Crowder. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Landry Shamet, Jae Crowder. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports /
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Phoenix Suns, Landry Shamet
Phoenix Suns, Landry Shamet. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Phoenix Suns Unsung Heroes Post All-Star Break: Landry Shamet

The Phoenix Suns also traded for Landry Shamet, but long before Holiday, agreeing to an exchange with the Brooklyn Nets this past offseason after handing over the No. 29 overall pick and Jevon Carter. This deal meant parting with one of the better perimeter defenders on the team to acquire a player with a reputation for struggling on that end of the floor.

Needless to say, Suns fans had every reason to worry that they had just given up a fan favorite, scrappy junkyard dog, to acquire a somewhat unknown commodity. This line of thinking was supported earlier this year, as Shamet struggled for some time.

After also inking a 4-year, $43 million contract extension with the Suns after that trade, added pressure fell onto Shamet which only made his struggles that much more glaring. His sharpshooting skills seemed to fall off, as he shot 35.3 percent from deep going into the All-Star break.

At that point, the Shamet deal looked like one with the potential to go down as the worst decision thus far in James Jones’s tenure as general manager.

But then, the injuries to Paul and Booker took Shamet from someone struggling to find his place amongst the bench unit, to someone playing alongside the available starters. After surrounding him with more talented players, the Suns are watching his efficiency skyrocket.

Once the calendar turned over to March, Shamet’s playing time jumped by +9.3 minutes per game. This leap in minutes has coincided with some raised shooting numbers, with Shamet shooting it at a 46.9 percent clip from beyond the arc during his past five games.

This renaissance for Shamet means increased confidence for him going forward, and more importantly, the idea that Williams now understands how Sham-wow is best used as a shooter/scorer playing off star guys, rather than a strict backup option.