VEGAS TAKEAWAY: SIXERS ZHAIRE SMITH NEEDS HELP WITH HIS SHOT!

So says Kevin O’Connor of the Ringer.com:

Smith was one of the players I was most excited to watch in Las Vegas. He certainly showed what the hype was all about by soaring through the air for blocked shots, making nifty passes (a significantly underrated skill of his), and scoring athletically. But we already knew he can do all that. What I wanted to see from the new Sixer was his jumper and ball-handling, and that part of his game was underwhelming.

Smith’s shot looks slightly smoother, but he still has too big of a windup, as he goes into a virtual seated position before rising. He sprayed the ball all over, missing short and long, to the left and to the right. Smith’s shot off the dribble was also an eyesore; he couldn’t consistently create space for his shot, and when he did unleash, it didn’t fall (he shot 3-for-14 off the dribble, per Synergy). While displaying the same average first step and a similarly loose handle that he had in college, Smith didn’t deal well with ball pressure, often having to pass or simply losing it on his drives.

All of that is fine. The odds are Smith’s lane as a pro is a 3-and-D role player who dazzles with his otherworldly athleticism. The 19-year-old has a long career ahead of him even if his shot only reaches an average level. That’s why it made sense for the Sixers to trade Mikal Bridges to the Suns while picking up the Heat’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick. To be clear: Smith had a good summer overall. I was just hoping for a little more this month in the ball-handling department, since that’s the key to unlocking his full potential:

https://www.theringer.com/nba/2018/7/18/17584524/summer-league-takeaways-wendell-carter-marvin-bagley-anfernee-simons

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