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Zhaire Smith NBA Draft Breakdown

Garrett Furubayashi

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Age: 19

Position: Small Forward

College: Texas Tech

 

Measurables

Height w/o Shoes: 6’2.75”

Height w/ Shoes: 6’4”

Weight: 199

Wingspan: 6’9.75”

Standing Reach: 8’4”

Max Vertical: 41.5”

 

College Statistics (2017/2018)

MPG: 28.4

PPG: 11.3

RPG: 5.0

ASTPG: 1.8

BLKPG: 1.1

FT%: 71.7%

2-PT FG%: 57.4%

3-PT FG%: 45.0%

 

Comparisons: Danny Green, Norman Powell

 

3 Things to Know

  1. Has an insane amount of bounce thanks to a 41.5 max vertical.
  2. Poor ball handler who could use improvement to strengthen offensive game
  3. An impressive defender who has the ability to guard multiple positions

 

Strengths

  • Very athletic with a lot of bounce as he was tied for 3rd out of all participants in max vertical at 41.5” during this year’s combine.
  • Shown good driving ability along with a high IQ with good instincts on offense.
  • On the ball, he has a nice blend of quickness to contain guards, but also the size and strength to go against bigger bodies on defense.
  • Off the ball, uses engagement and quick hands to be disruptive in help situations.
  • Engaged rebounder who has a nose for the ball, pulling down 5.0 RPG last season.

 

Weaknesses

  • Needs a few mechanical tweaks in his shot as he tends to shoot on the way down from jumping.
  • Needs to improve ball handling.
  • An improvement in ball handling will help his shot-creating ability off the dribble.
  • Weighs only 199 lb and will need to bulk up in order to stay with bigger and stronger NBA wings.

 

Summary

Zhaire Smith is and will be, a fun player to watch for years to come in the NBA. The 6’4” 199 lb freshman out of Garland, Texas has shown a ton of bounce during his lone season with the Red Raiders. During his only collegiate basketball season, Smith averaged 11.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and 1.1 BLKPG while leading Texas Tech to an appearance in the Elite Eight. Smith’s explosive drives and high flying dunks are one of many reasons why NBA scouts are excited about a kid who barely turned 19 a month ago. Smith has shown that he possesses a high basketball IQ and good instincts thanks to some of the cuts he makes off the ball, which especially helps him get more freedom at the rim. He also showed off a bit of range last season, firing at 45% from 3 point land for the Red Raiders; however, at the next level, Smith will need to work on a few mechanical things in his shooting stroke like trying to release the ball quicker and not when he’s one the decline and coming down. He’ll also need to broaden his offensive arsenal as he mostly played off the ball at Texas Tech due to his limits of creating off the dribble because of his average ball-handling skills and limited ability to create space for his shot. On the defensive side of the ball, Smith possesses a great blend of quickness and size that allows him to both stay with guards on the perimeter, and have the size and strength to body up bigger players; however, his 199 lb frame won’t cut it in the NBA so he’ll need to continue adding more muscle in order to stay with bigger and stronger wings. Off the ball, Smith uses his high IQ to always be in a position to help around the rim along with quick hands and engagement in order to disrupt passing lanes higher up. Finally, Smith has shown he’s got a nose for the ball and an ability to attack and secure the basketball thanks to his 5.0 rebound average per game last season. Overall, Smith possesses a good amount of athleticism that gives him so much potential on the defensive end of the floor, but he’ll need to polish up his ball handling skills in order to give him more options than just driving on offense. Look for Smith to be selected anywhere from the late lottery to the end of the 1st round in Thursday night’s draft.

Locke’s Take

This is one of the great mysterys of the draft.  Smith literally flys off the screen when you watch him.  It is incredible.  He gets over 50% of his rebounds on the offensive end of the floor, because he just flys in and dunks them.  He goes after every one of them.  However, he doesn’t have an offensive game.    He ran 8 pick and rolls all season.  He took just 38 catch and shoot jumpers all season.  He took only 29 jumpers off the bounce.   Defensively, he should be really special with his skills and strength.  He should be able to switch easily 1 thru 4.    However, I have no idea how to project his game offensively.   This is a gutsy pick whoever makes it.

 

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