Zhaire Smith

Zhaire Smith Player Profile

Strengths

  • Off Ball: Wonderful cutter, TT used him on screens a lot, backdoors, lobs
  • Quick First Step
  • Playmaking: Can be secondary creator
  • Passing: Great feel for the game, draws in defenders and finds open teammates
  • Major athlete and knows it too
  • Defense: Shot-blocking guard who can switch 1-3, no lack of effort
  • Good screener for a guard
  • Good height for a guard and good wingspan too
  • Helluva motor

Concerns

  • Jumper: Serious questions about his form, will struggle from deep unless improved
  • Jumps backwards on pull-ups (see gif), very weird
  • Despite his amazing first step, often sits in triple threat stance for too long, ballstopper
  • Handle: Not diverse, hardly saw crossovers or hesi, straight line drive player
  • Physical: Not very strong

Pro Comp

  • Zach LaVine
  • Oladipo w/o a 3
  • Avery Bradley

Tier and Picks

  • Tier 3/4 w/ Tier 2 potential
  • Picks 14-18

Physical

  • 6’4” 
  • 199 lbs 
  • 6’ 10” Wingspan

Outlook

The curious case of Zhaire Smith.

What is he? Is he a defensive two guard? Does he have potential to be an NBA PnR playmaker? Lot of questions here, folks. Let’s start with the plusses. Smith may be the best athlete in the draft. Guess what? He knows it too and tries to dunk everything. Athletically, his quick feet, fluidity and wingspan allow him to stick with anyone on the court defensively. Offensively, I love the way this kid sets up teammates. Smith is always a threat to blow by a defender, so when he draws in multiple guys he will look for a dump or kick-out pass to open teammates. There is definitely secondary ball-handler potential here. But make no mistake, this guy is not a point guard. Smith has the blandest handle package out there, often settling for a jab step then a line drive to the hoop. Sometimes this works, but against NBA defenders he will need to show more. They will simply play off of him to compensate for speed and dare him to pull a J. Speaking of which, his jumper is not pretty. Smith often leaves both hands up during his follow a through; a sign that the is still pushing the ball and guiding it too much with his off hand. Furthermore, he has an awful (and odd) habit of jumping backwards during a pull-up (see gif in profile.) So, what’s the deal with this uber-athlete? I have Smith in the middle of the first round. Yet, if a team can rework his jumper, Smith can be a defensive menace who can create for others while also being a three-point threat. The development of his jumper will determine if turns into Norman Powell, Zach LaVine, Victor Oladipo or anywhere in between.

GIFS YOU MUST SEE!

1. Excellent passer, shows feel for game

2. Only elite athlete can make this play possible! Great screener

3. Jumping away from the hoop on a pull-up? Weird, despite make

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