The Brooklyn Nets have spent the past few days centered in trade rumors linking them with James Harden. Those rumors are still, as yet, unresolved but they did cobble together a three-team deal with the Los Angeles Clippers and Detroit Pistons on draft night that could easily be classified as a win-win-win.
No. 19 pick (Saddiq Bey)
It’s honestly hard to fathom that Landry Shamet has played just 132 NBA games and he’s already on to his third team. Usually, players passed around this much, this quickly, are flotsam, some sort of unwanted filler to facilitate other moves. But Shamet is a legitimately good player and he’ll be hugely important for the Nets.
He’s made 40.2 percent of his nearly 700 career 3-point attempts, but he’s not just an elite catch-and-shoot threat (although he is that). In his first two seasons in the NBA, he’s ranked in the 87th percentile or better in points per possession coming off screens, making one of the league’s best young shooters off-movement. And while he’s not an elite defender, he’s not a problematic one either.
With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving dominating the ball next season, complementary shooters like Shamet are going to be essential, especially with the way his off-ball gravity in motion can put additional pressure on the defense. He also gives Brooklyn some insurance if they aren’t able to afford to re-sign Joe Harris and additional backcourt depth if they end up having to move Spencer Dinwiddie and/or Caris LeVert for another bearded guard.
Los Angeles Clippers
It’s curious that the Clippers valued Luke Kennard more than Shamet here since at their core they are players with very similar profiles as spot-up and off-movement shooting threats. Kennard is a bit bigger and stronger and might have a bit more value as a secondary creator. He ranked in the 78th percentile as a pick-and-roll scorer last season and averaged nearly twice as many potential assists per 36 minutes as Shamet.
This may be a sign that the Clippers aren’t totally confident in their options for a point guard upgrade and think adding a little more supplemental creation around Kawhi Leonard and Paul George is more important than continuity for continuity’s sake. This feels mostly like a lateral move but in the few ways it’s an upgrade, I’m not sure how much it addresses the fundamental issues with this roster.
The Pistons basically turned Kennard into Saddiq Bey, who they took with the No. 19 pick. Bey is a solid shooter, albeit on a lower volume than some other players in this draft who projects to have some upside as a post-scorer against smaller wings. Evaluations of his defensive upside are mixed but, as the Pistons start building for the future, he’s much younger than Kennard and helps align a timeline around Killian Hayes and Sekou Doumbouya. There is no way Bey is as productive as Kennard right now, and I’m not convinced his peak will eventually be higher. But the Pistons might have gotten more value at No. 19 than they did at No. 16 and getting a first for Kennard isn’t a bad deal.