Zhaire Smith looks aggressive
Zhaire Smith looks much more aggressive the last couple games. Photo by Wayne Terry, TPL.

Zhaire Smith is a guy that had a lot of eyes on him going into this Summer League. After getting to see some NBA action last season, everyone wanted to see how he looked after having time to get fully healthy. Smith is a guy that is going to have a role this season for the Sixers and has showed so far in Summer League that he is ready. Here are some takeaways on Smiths’ play through three Summer League games. 

Elite athleticism

From the Sixers’ first trip down the court to kick off the Summer League, Zhaire made one thing very clear: he has the potential to be a walking highlight reel. Smith has had multiple lobs and dunks already that showed off his unreal athleticism. He looks poised to want to play his game above the rim and to be a good athletic guard off the bench for the Sixers.

His athleticism has also translated to the defensive end of the ball as well, as he has been a very aggressive rebounder. Watching Smith jump out of the gym for the Sixers in the Summer League has been very fun to watch and has Sixers fans dreaming of what he is going to be able to do in transition alongside a guard like Ben Simmons. 

 Strong offensive game

Another thing that has stood out is Smith’s game on offense. Along with all of his highlight reel lobs, he has shown he can score in multiple different ways. His jumpshot looks smooth, and he has been able to knock down threes, which is a good sign. Along with hitting jumpshots, he has also been very aggressive attacking the rim and finishing through contact. Zhaire has also showed some playmaking ability, racking up a handful of assists in each game. With the backup point guard role up in the air right now, Smith showing the ability to put the ball in the basket and to set up the players around him is a very good sign. Maybe we see Smith and Milton backup point guard by committee this season. 

Proven defender

As stated earlier, Smith’s athleticism has been highlighted on both sides of the ball. Smith has done a great job at defending. Through three Summer League games, he has averaged over a steal a game and close to a block a game. He has shown great instincts on the defensive end that have led to some really nice plays. Smith’s defensive abilities open up a lot for the Sixers. They now have another guard to pair with Ben that will be able to keep up with and defend other guards. This also shows that the second unit for the Sixers is going to be very strong on defense. 

Overall, Zhaire Smith has looked great in the Summer League and looks ready for the NBA game. He has had moments on the court where he looked like he did not need to be playing in the Summer League. Smith will be able to step into the role of a guy to come off the bench who will be able to shoot the ball and defend. Smith could also be a late game option to throw in with the starters when the team needs a late game stop. After all the things that Smith had to go through to get back onto the basketball court, it is great to see him thrive.