Sixers send Bridges to Suns for Zhaire Smith, future first
The Philadelphia 76ers picked Mikal Bridges with the 10th overall pick in the draft, but in a shocking move they dealt the Villanova star to the Phoenix Suns for Zhaire Smith and a future first-round pick. Smith attended two pre-draft workouts for the Sixers.
According to Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated, the 2021 first-round pick is unprotected which could bode well for the Sixers since Miami, at this point, do not have a pick in the draft and could be a lottery team that year.
In his freshman year at Texas Tech, Smith averaged 11.3 points and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 55.6 percent from the floor and 45 percent from beyond the arc.
“I wanted to show my ability to shoot the ball, play-make, bring the ball up, coming off screens and making the right decisions,” Smith told NBC Sports Philadelphia after his first workout at the team’s training complex.
On Wednesday, Marc J. Spears reported that the Sixers were very interested in taking Smith 10th overall after two workouts with the organization. With Smith still on board at No. 16, Philadelphia opted to part ways with Bridges and invest in Smith's upside while also receiving a future unprotected first-rounder.
Here's what Bleacher Report had to say about Smith prior to the draft:
Smith's offensive impact and production are fueled mostly by his motor and explosiveness. The majority (22.0 percent) of his offense came off cuts, a reflection of his off-ball activity. An explosive leaper, Smith's 1.34 points per possession in transition ranked in the 90th percentile. He also used the offensive glass for scoring chances, having converted 28 putbacks, including a handful of highlight tip dunks.
As a shooter, he made 39.7 percent of his total jump shots and 18 of his 40 three-point attempts. Smith isn't a playmaker, but he did demonstrate strong vision and passing ability.
Derek Bodner of The Athletic compiled the thoughts on Smith from around the NBA, with many writers complimenting his basketball IQ and defensive prowess.
Brandon Apter is a contributor to 97.3 ESPN and managing editor at SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @bapter23