The Summer League version of the Philadelphia 76ers went a disappointing 1-3 in their four games in Las Vegas, but there were some standout performers who can help the team this season.
He will play big minutes coming off Brett Brown’s bench and should thrive in his role.
Bounce back year
Smith, the No. 16 pick in the 2018 draft, had a unique but disappointing rookie season.
After fracturing his foot before the season even started, Smith had a life-threatening allergic reaction to sesame oil.
It took him awhile just to gain back the weight he lost due to the allergic reaction.
Once Smith was cleared to play, he only appeared in the final six games of the regular season. In those games, he averaged 6.7 points in 18.5 minutes.
Due to missing significant time, Brett Brown couldn’t afford to use him during the playoffs last year. His lack of experience and workload didn’t allow him the opportunity to help the team and make an impact.
That shouldn’t be the case in the 2019-2020 season.
Growth from Draft Day
Coming out of Texas Tech as a freshman, Smith’s athleticism was the first thing people noticed. He continued to display that athleticism, along with strong defense, during the 2018 summer league.
Smith’s defense and finishing ability at the rim was most noticeable but he didn’t attempt many jump shots.
The 2019 Summer League proves the strides he’s made in his offensive game over the past year.
Zhaire Smith pull-up threes are very encouraging. pic.twitter.com/T7fE9GfXEl
— Harrison Grimm (@HarrisonEGrimm) July 8, 2019
Smith didn’t show the ability to shoot and make a step-back three at all last season. Plus, the confidence to use it in a game is encouraging.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) July 10, 2019
Along with showing improvement with this dribble and shot creating, his defense and finishing at the basket continue to be at a high level.
Take results from Summer League with caution due to the lack of NBA talent on each team’s roster. But his development over the past year is encouraging regardless of who is playing against him.
The improvement in his game since entering the league increases the chance he will be a good role player this season.
Smith appears ready to play his part off the bench.
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