Philadelphia 76ers: Zhaire Smith was a mistake, not bad luck

Philadelphia 76ers, Zhaire Smith (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers, Zhaire Smith (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia 76ers
Phialdelphia 76ers, Zhaire Smith Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Smith was a mistake, not bad luck: Background info

Here’s some background surrounding the selection of Smith. The Philadelphia 76ers originally had the 10th pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Colangelo was out as the head guy in charge thanks to a Twitter scandal and head coach Brett Brown was put in place as the interim general manager before the draft.

Brown selected local Villanova star Mikal Bridges with that pick and it was a celebrated move. However, the Sixers traded the rights to Bridges to the Phoenix Suns for 16th pick and a Miami Heat first round pick in 2021.

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With the 16th pick, the 76ers selected Smith who was a super athletic 6-foot-4 college power forward who was a plus defender but was raw as an offensive player. The trade had mixed reviews but the fan base generally got behind Smith.

Before the start of his rookie season, Smith had the worst luck possible. He suffered a foot injury and then had a severe allergic reaction that resulted in him losing a significant amount of weight. He barely played that year as a result of recovering from both issues, but did show some promise in his rookie season.

Entering his second season head coach Brown decided to have Smith play the majority of the year in the G-League versus trying to growing with the main roster. While he showed positive signs of development with Philly’s G-League affiliate the Delaware Blue Coats, he wasn’t making any significant leap in development. It didn’t help that he missed the NBA Bubble due to a knee injury.

This past offseason the coaching staff and the front office were changing. As a result it was becoming clear that Smith wasn’t going to be in the team’s future moving forward.

Philly traded the former first round pick to the rebuilding Detroit Pistons for Tony Bradley. Smith was then waived by the rebuilding team and signed by the Memphis Grizzlies. However, Memphis waived him a day later. Since then he hasn’t been in the NBA.