It’s taking a while, but the Philadelphia 76ers former first round pick of the 2018 NBA Draft is showing signs of development in the G-League.
Despite contending for a NBA title, the Philadelphia 76ers are still concerned about developing talent for the future. One of the players that the Sixers are developing is Zhaire Smith and despite being in his second season, he’s far from a finished product. The good news is that he’s starting to show signs of growth with the 76ers G-League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats.
In his second season with the Blue Coats, Smith’s averaging 13.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.7 steals, 2.3 turnovers and 2.2 fouls, while making 52.0 percent of his shots from the field, 28.6 percent of his 3-pointers and 63.9 percent of his foul shots.
Considering that Smith is a former first round pick, these G-League averages aren’t encouraging. One would hope that he would shoot a higher percentage from downtown and score more at this point in his career, especially on the G-League level. Smith has elite athleticism, but is a very raw prospect in terms of skills and basketball I.Q.
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It’s clear based on these G-League stats that Smith is no were close to being ready for NBA minutes. He’s still developing at the age of 20-years-old and it appears that he will need the rest of this G-League season to develop at the bare minimum. There’s no doubt that Smith is a long-term prospect, but there’s a silver lining that’s revealed itself as the G-League season has progressed.
Smith has already shown signs of improved play from November to December. In November, he averaged 12.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 3.0 turnovers and 3.0 fouls, while converting 47.3 percent of his field goals, 22.2 percent of his 3-point attempts and 62.5 percent of his free throws.
During December he’s seen improvement across the board. He averaged 13.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.9 turnovers and 1.6 fouls, while shooting 55.7 percent from the floor, 34.8 percent from deep and 83.3 percent from the charity stripe. He had this improvement while receiving around six less minutes per game in December.
The best part of his improvement so far has to be that he’s shooting higher percentages, while cutting down on fouls and turnovers. Hopefully, he can become a more aggressive scoring moving forward while keeping his shooting percentages, turnovers and fouls at the rates they were at in December.
It’s certainly taking a while, but Smith is showing signs of improvement with the Blue Coats. Philadelphia 76ers fans will probably have to wait till next year before they see Smith playing consistent minutes in the NBA, but the good news is that he’s making progress in the G-League.