Sixers rookie Zhaire Smith jokes he feels like he’ll be better than Kawhi Leonard
Just a day after witnessing his Sixers exit the playoffs following a miraculous game-winning jumper from Toronto Raptors star Kawhi Leonard, Smith seemed ready to move on and is even more determined than ever. In fact, he was already able to crack a joke at the expense of Kawhi.
When asked about watching Leonard in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series, Smith joked that he feels like he can be a better player than the former NBA Finals MVP and three-time All-Star.
Zhaire Smith asked about watching Kawhi Leonard in this series and whether that's a level he wants to aspire to. Smiles and jokes, "I feel like I'll probably be better than him. Or I'm gonna try."
— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) May 13, 2019
While you love that confidence from a young rookie like Smith, the Sixers will need to develop him quickly so he can stroll into the role that the team thought Markelle Fultz would inhabit. Of course, the Fultz experiment flamed out rather quickly after it looked as though he had the “yips,” when in fact he was actually suffering from the rather rare thoracic outlet syndrome.
Still though, Smith showed some flashes of brilliance in his rookie season, and if he can develop quickly and become an important rotation piece, it will make the Sixers all the stronger.