Bench scoring is one of the Clippers’ strengths, with Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell providing plenty of spark. Landry Shamet’s long-range shooting should open up lanes for the rest of his teammates, which has made his return from an injury a welcome sight.
Shamet had missed 17 consecutive games with a high left ankle sprain, returning Saturday night at Chicago.
He hasn’t been an instant success.
In his second game back since the injury, Shamet missed his first two shots, both three-pointers, and finished one of six from the field while scoring only four points during the Clippers’ easy 120-99 win over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night at Staples Center.
But this was only his 12th game of the season and Shamet still is trying to find his game after being out just over a month.
“I think he’s right there,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “He got hurt in training camp. He hurt his wrist. He hurt his ankle, was still playing. So I didn’t think he played great in the first 10 games, even though his numbers said he was shooting the ball well. Watching him play in the Chicago game, that was the Sham. You were like, ‘Whoa, that’s Sham right there.’ So he’s in a great place with us.”
Shamet had 11 points on four-for-five shooting, three-for-four on three-pointers, against the Bulls.
He didn’t score his only basket against the Suns until the fourth quarter, and that came on an out-of-bounds play that seemed set up for Shamet.
“I haven’t played with Kawhi [Leonard] and Paul [George] on the floor at the same time so I’m still learning and figuring that out,” said Shamet, who was a plus-15 despite the poor shooting. “But I think it’s going to take time, obviously. I know it’s not just going to happen overnight.
“You don’t sit out for five weeks and come back — unless you’re Paul George and have 30 or whatever in your first game. I understand that. I’m being patient, just control what I can control.”
After the game, Shamet went back onto the court to get some extra shots.
He had entered the game making 41.4% of his shots, 38.7% of his three-pointers, and he was simply trying to get his stroke back.
“That’s not anything really new,” Shamet said. “If I feel like I want to get some shots up postgame, then I’ll do it.”
Before Shamet was traded to the Clippers last season, he played for the Philadelphia 76ers, where Suns coach Monty Williams was an assistant.
The two of them developed a special bond during that time, as Williams grew fond of Shamet.
“Anal about everything,” Williams said. “He wants everything to be perfect all the time. The best thing that happened to Landry was having JJ Redick there every day. After practice,I would tell him, ‘Just go work with JJ. He’s going to teach you more than I ever could.’
“We just spent a lot of time talking — about ball, about life. He comes from a great family, and just an impressive young man and a really good player. I really like him a lot.”