The Philadelphia 76ers made an unpredictable move in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft on Thursday night.
With the tenth overall pick in the draft, the Sixers selected former Villanova Wildcat product Mikal Bridges. However, Bridges would not be staying with the Sixers for long.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the Sixers traded Bridges to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Zhaire Smith, who was taken with the 16th overall pick.
Also in the trade, the Sixers received a 2021 first-round pick via the Miami Heat and saved $1 million in cap space.
Philadelphia worked out Smith twice during the draft process. The only other prospect the Sixers worked twice was Kentucky forward Kevin Knox.
In his only season at Texas Tech, Smith showcased his two-way ability en route to leading the Red Raiders to an Elite Eight appearance. He averaged 11.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in 28.4 minutes per game.
The 6-foot-3 guard also shot 55.6 percent from the field and 45 percent from three-point range.
However, his three-point percentage is skewed as he only averaged 1.1 attempts per game. Smith needs to work on his three-point shot to be effective in the NBA.
When you turn on Smith’s tape, one thing you will notice is his athleticism. On the offensive end, he can jump out of the gym and has the ability to play off the ball.
Then on the defensive end, Smith uses his 6-foot-9 wingspan to play the passing lanes, leading to 1.6 steals per 40. The former three-star recruit also had a DRtg (defensive rating) of 95.1, which is pretty good.
Smith will now be joining a Sixers team, where he will not have to start right away. Heading into next season, Philadelphia could essentially put Markelle Fultz at shooting guard with Ben Simmons running the point.
Nevertheless, Smith will be looked upon to bring energy off the bench, while getting a chance to work on his offensive game.