Zhaire Smith

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Zhaire Smith has shown encouraging flashes

Andrew Porter
April 11, 2019 - 8:35 am

Zhaire Smith has been through a lot. 

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After being traded on Draft Day from Phoenix to Philadelphia, the 19-year-old athletic guard fractured his foot at a summer development camp in early August, requiring surgery. Just one month later, Smith went through a thoracoscopy due to an allergic reaction relating to ingesting sesame. His road to recovery was going to an uphill climb, to say the least. 

Smith made his NBA debut for the Sixers on March 25th against the Magic, hitting a three on his only shot attempt in five minutes. Over the last four games to finish the season, Smith has averaged 24 minutes a game and he's shown plenty of encouraging signs. 

Last night, albeit against the short-handed Bulls, Smith scored 17 points on 7-13 FG and 2-5 3PFG. He added five assists and four boards.

But more importantly, Smith looks NBA ready. His athleticism is extremely evident as soon as he steps on the floor, he can leap with anyone. His jump shot looks much improved and comfortable, as well. Smith is 6-16 from three-point range and 6-8 from the line in just 111 NBA minutes, a very encouraging sign. 

None of this is major news, but it's certainly exciting to see the Sixers' 19-year-old first-round pick look like a player. 

The Sixers begin their first-round playoff series on Saturday against the Brooklyn Nets. Do not expect Smith to see many, if any, playoff minutes this season.