Zhaire Smith comes up short at NBA Draft Combine

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 25: Zhaire Smith
BOSTON, MA - MARCH 25: Zhaire Smith /

Zhaire Smith headed to the NBA Draft Combine with a chance to really boost his stock. Unfortunately, the talented athlete came up short.

There’s no question that Zhaire Smith is one of the most impressive athletes in this year’s draft class. Unfortunately, that isn’t all that’s required to be a high quality NBA player. A prospect like Smith needs size to go along with his athleticism.

Unfortunately, Zhaire Smith failed to measure up at the Combine. He checked in at a disappointing 6-foot-4. That’s well below average for a full time wing in the NBA. Heading into the Combine there were questions over whether or not Smith could slide up and defend 4s in small ball lineups. Now, his lack of height makes it very obvious he has to be a two-guard at the next level.

Smith was essentially non-shooter during his single season at Texas Tech. It’s not that he wasn’t an effective 3-point shooter. He did manage to shoot a very respectable 45 percent from 3 last season. The problem is he only felt comfortable enough to take 40 shots from outside the arc.

At his height, he’s going to need to become at least a respectable outside shooter to earn a spot in an NBA rotation. There’s very little evidence from his college career to indicate that’s a likely outcome. Smith will need to really show an improved perimeter stroke during workouts to solidify his draft stock.

As it stands now, Smith may be the prospect with the most volatile draft stock. He submitted his name this year as an attempt to capitalize on his strong NCAA Tournament performance. His decision to leave Texas Tech early could come back to haunt him now. Some teams may remove Smith from their draft boards altogether due to his status as a non-shooter.

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Zhaire Smith’s NBA dream isn’t dead, but it may be on life support. He’ll need to give teams excellent private workouts if he wants to stay in the first round of this year’s NBA Draft.