Sixers rookie wing Zhaire Smith isn’t considered likely to contribute to the NBA club down the stretch, or even play at all in Philadelphia this season. However, he appears poised to make his professional debut in the G League this week, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Smith, who has been sidelined for most of the 2018/19 season due to a broken foot, as well as complications from an allergic reaction, should get the OK to play for the Delaware Blue Coats on Friday against Maine if things go as planned, sources tell Pompey. Assuming there are no setbacks, Smith would continue to suit up and shake off the rest for Delaware down the stretch — head coach Brett Brown has said that he doesn’t expect the 2018 first-rounder to play for the 76ers this season.
Assuming Smith doesn’t make his NBA debut until 2019/20, he would be the latest in a string of Sixers first-round picks to sit out his full rookie season. Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons missed their entire rookie years, while Markelle Fultz appeared in just 14 games in his.
Here’s more from out of Philadelphia:
- Speaking of injured former first-rounders, Sixers center Justin Patton may finally get an opportunity to contribute to the NBA club, per Brian Seltzer of Sixers.com. With Embiid and Boban Marjanovic on the shelf, Philadelphia is shorthanded in the frontcourt and has recalled Patton from the G League. The young center’s first two NBA seasons have been derailed by foot injuries, but he’ll be ready to play in his second ever NBA game if the Sixers need him on Thursday. Patton will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
- Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports takes a deep dive into the Sixers’ efforts to develop chemistry and establish an identity after a pair of blockbuster in-season acquisitions (Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris). “It’s gonna take awhile to build chemistry as a collective unit, but this is something that can be special if it comes together the right way,” Harris said. “It’s gonna take time, but we’re just feeling each other out.” Philadelphia’s ability to sort things out in time for the playoffs could have a significant impact on the NBA offseason — both Butler and Harris will be free agents, and their decisions could be affected by how deep a run the 76ers make.
- In case you missed it, we passed along health updates on Embiid, Marjanovic, and Furkan Korkmaz earlier this week. Korkmaz is expected to have the lengthiest absence of the three, as he underwent surgery to repair his torn meniscus.