Philadelphia 76ers: Zhaire Smith developed in the G-League this year

Zhaire Smith (Photo by Mike Lawrence/NBAE via Getty Images)
Zhaire Smith (Photo by Mike Lawrence/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers should be happy about the development that their second-year guard experienced in the G-League this past season.

Thanks to a broken foot and a severe allergic reaction, Zhaire Smith lost most of his rookie year to rehabilitation. Due to the fact and that Smith was already a raw prospect coming into the NBA, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown essentially viewed this season as the second-year guard’s rookie year.

That meant that Smith was sent down to the Sixers G-League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats. Smith played down with the Blue Coats as he was coming back from his multiple health issues last season, but this season he wasn’t hampered from recovery and it showed. With the G-League season more than likely over, it seems appropriate in evaluating Smith’s season in with the Blue Coats.

This year with Delaware, he averaged 13.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 0.8 steals, while shooting 53.0 percent from the field and 37.6 on his 3-pointers. Considering he was the 16th pick of the 2018 NBA Draft, those numbers aren’t too encouraging but, he wasn’t known as a scorer in college so it’s okay that he’s not an elite scorer in the G-League.

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His shooting percentages are extremely encouraging, especially with his 3-point shot. He shot 37.6 percent from downtown on 4.2 attempts. What was even more impressive was that, with the exception of the month of February, Smith saw an increase in his outside shooting percentage each month. In November he converted 22.2 percent from deep and shot 50.0 percent from behind the arc in March.

He also saw an increase in his scoring each month this past season as well, with January being the lone exception. He averaged 12.8 points per game in November and 14.6 points in March. When looking at his numbers alone, it’s clear that Smith showed progress as a shooter and scorer this season.

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With the Philadelphia 76ers potentially having six free agents this summer, Smith could be called upon to take on a larger role next season. The progress he’s made this season in the G-League should help him transition to a role in an NBA rotation.