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Zhaire Smith officially signs rookie deal with Sixers

Zhaire Smith

Per an official team release, the Philadelphia 76ers have officially signed first-round pick Zhaire Smith. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Sixers acquired Smith’s draft rights after a draft day trade that saw the Sixers’ pick and Philly native, Mikal Bridges get shipped off to the Phoenix Suns. The Sixers also acquired the Suns’ first-round pick in 2021. That pick is unprotected.

The 19-year-old out of Texas Tech shot up draft boards after an impressive freshman season at Texas Tech. The one-and-done player is an athletic guard who projects to play mostly at shooting guard, but could see some time as a small forward.

One aspect of Smith’s game that will be crucial in Philly is how well he can shoot the ball from deep. He shot 45 percent from deep while at Texas Tech, but he only took about one three per game while a Red Raider.

Smith had an impressive NCAA Tournament where he averaged 12 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game. He was the catalyst that spurred the Red Raiders to their first Elite Eight appearance in school history.

He was a strong defender in college as well, receiving All-Big 12 Defensive Team. He should be able to step into the league and defend from the start and he has enough offensive upside to get Philly fans excited.

He’s joining a young and up-and-coming Philly squad where he doesn’t need to be the star. With Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, there’s no pressure on Smith to be the savior. He should be able to slide into a rotational spot from the get-go and develop at his own pace.