2018 NBA Mock Draft: What do playoff teams need?

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 15: Lonnie Walker IV
DALLAS, TX - MARCH 15: Lonnie Walker IV /
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zhaire smith
zhaire smith /

Texas Tech. Zhaire Smith. 22. player. 24. . G/F

For Smith, it’s another case of the curse of impossible archetypes. He has been compared with Marcus Smart and glue players on offense, guys who “always make the right play,” “do the little things,” and impact the game beneath its surface. In reality, Smart’s statistical profile would lead you to believe it’s impossible to be valuable to a team, and the fact he is is an anomaly more than an indicator for others like him. That’s why I have Smith lower than consensus, falling to a wing-hungry team like the Bulls rather than a young group that just missed the playoffs like the Nuggets or Clippers.

Jackson Hoy of The Stepien makes the case that, “Smith brings a high floor with his athleticism, feel, and defensive versatility.” Smith’s feel for the game offensively is the biggest thing that would make one believe he will be impactful on that end. It’s not as if he’s a chucker who doesn’t get it — he was active setting screens and jumping on the offensive glass in his freshman season, and the Red Raiders’ offense was better when he was on the court.

Playing excellent defense across four positions and filling in the gaps on offense is indeed the mold for a productive player in the NBA. But the potential that his defense is really just effective against guards and his offense never swings around is real, too. The Bulls can take a swing and not worry, but it’s likely Smith gets taken higher than this.