Catching up with the Shockers in the NBA


Brian Hayes

Landry Shamet answers questions from the media during the press conference, on March 15, 2018, in San Diego.

At the start of the 2018-2019 NBA season, there are three former Shockers in the highest professional league in the land — Fred VanVleet, Ron Baker, and Landry Shamet.

Fred VanVleet

VanVleet is entering his third season in the league. After going undrafted in 2016, the six-foot guard signed with the Toronto Raptors. During his rookie season, he had multiple assignments to the Raptors’ development league affiliate, the Raptors 905. He was a member of the Raptors 905’s championship team that year. During his split time between the leagues, VanVleet posted his best game against the Orlando Magic on Feb. 3, 2017, when he recorded 15 points.

VanVleet broke out last year in his second NBA season. The former Shocker standout posted a career-high 25 points against the Los Angeles Lakers in January — breaking his previous career high from earlier that month when he scored 22 against the Cleveland Cavaliers. On March 7, VanVleet’s jump shot with 1.1 seconds left in a game versus the Detroit Pistons helped the Raptors become the first team to clinch a spot in the 2018 NBA Playoffs.

VanVleet finished the 2017-2018 season averaging 8.6 points, 3.2 assists, and 2.4 rebounds in 76 games. He was also nominated for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award — taking third in voting. At the end of the season, VanVleet ranked fourth in the NBA in net efficiency per possession.

After becoming a freein the offseason, VanVleet signed a contract to remain with Toronto. The contract is worth $18 million over two years.

Ron Baker

Like VanVleet, Baker went undrafted in the 2016 NBA Draft. After a scattered Summer League campaign, Baker signed with the New York Knicks, where he secured a spot on the opening night roster. Baker debuted in the Knicks’ season opener on Oct. 25, 2016 — recording five points and one rebound in seven minutes off the bench in a 117–88 loss to the Cavaliers.

Throughout the season, Baker was assigned to the Knicks’ affiliate, the Westchester Knicks. In December, Baker recorded a season-high 13 points against the Golden State Warriors in a 103-90 loss. In January of his rookie season, Baker scored 12 points in his first career start against the Atlanta Hawks.

Baker’s sophomore season in the league was rough. After resigning with the Knicks in August 2017, Baker missed time with a broken left orbital bone that he sustained when he was hit in the face trying to stop Anthony Davis‘s drive to the basket in a December matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans. Baker came back after missing a few games, but on Feb. 5, he was ruled out for the remainder of the season when he was told he would need shoulder surgery.

Baker is now entering his third season in the league.

Landry Shamet

After playing two full seasons for Wichita State, Landry Shamet entered the 2018 NBA Draft. Shamet was taken with the 26th pick in the draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. Shamet will be in line for a first-year salary of approximately $1.7 million, and will earn $9.5 million, or more, if he plays out the full four-year contract. The third and fourth years of the deal are team options.

During the 2018 preseason, Shamet averaged 8.8 points per game, with an 18-point performance in a 120-114 victory over the Dallas Mavericks in China.

As of Sunday, Shamet had appeared in all 10 of the 76ers regular-season games thus far — starting in one. Shamet is averaging 7.0 points, 1.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists, and 0.5 steals so far this season.

Shamet has impressed head coach Brett Brown. Brown has praised him, saying “He is just quietly just jumping into this league. There is a consistency that he has shown where he has been steady. I’m extremely happy with Landry Shamet.”