Zhaire Smith

Sixers Notes: Fultz, Z. Smith, Roster Depth, Embiid

With Markelle Fultz‘s status as uncertain as ever, Sixers GM Elton Brand admitted Saturday he’s not sure if the second-year guard will play again this season, writes Sarah Todd of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Fultz, who hasn’t seen game action since November 19, has been diagnosed with neurogenic thoracic outlet syndrome. He is doing rehab work away from the team, and there’s no timetable for a possible return.

“He’s in L.A. with Judy Seto, … who Kobe [Bryant] swears by, progressing well,” Brand said. “He’ll be with us on Christmas, with his family. … Our staff, or someone from the organization has been in touch with him daily, or someone in his camp daily.”

Brand added that another update is expected after the holidays as team doctors re-evaluate his condition. The top pick in last year’s draft, Fultz had started 15 of 19 games and was averaging 8.2 PPG before being sidelined by the injury.

There’s more this morning out of Philadelphia:

  • Brand has more definite news about this year’s first-rounder, Zhaire Smith, who hasn’t played yet this season, Todd relays in the same story. Smith had surgery on his left foot in August, then had his rehab interrupted by complications from a peanut allergy, but Brand said the organization expects him to be ready before the season ends. “Zhaire is in the gym every morning, early in the morning, sometimes 5 a.m. He’s in good spirits,” Brand said. “He’ll have another test on his foot after the holiday and we expect to see him back this season. Not this year, but this season.” Smith will likely be sent to the Sixers’ G League team in Delaware when he is ready to return.
  • Brand expects to make at least one more move to add roster depth before the February 7 trade deadline, Todd adds. Philadelphia gave up some depth when it sent Robert Covington and Dario Saric to Minnesota to acquire Jimmy Butler. Brand agrees with coach Brett Brown that the team could use another perimeter defender. “We’re not a finished product right now,” he stated. We’re going to get better.”
  • Since the Butler deal, the Sixers have relied on Joel Embiid to provide more 3-point shooting, but the center wants to make that a smaller part of his offensive game, relays ESPN’s Tim Bontemps“I don’t like shooting 3s,” Embiid said. “I only do it because of the spacing that we have, and sometimes I have to take them.”

Zhaire Smith In Danger of Missing Entire Season?

Zhaire Smith has yet to make his debut for the Sixers this season and that moment may not come during the 2018/19 campaign.

Philadelphia announced earlier this month that Smith underwent “medical treatment for complications derived from the allergic reaction that initially required a thoracoscopy” and while there was no timetable for his return, reporters were told that Smith’s return to the court would not come in 2018.

According to The Ringer’s John Gonzalez, Smith is “in danger” of missing not just the rest of the calendar year but the entire season. Gonzalez hears that the rookie has undergone several procedures to address the allergy issue and he’s lost “upwards of 20 pounds” in the process.

Leading up to the complication, the Sixers were aware of Smith’s peanut allergy and they had prepared Smith’s food separately. However, the team was unaware that he also had a sesame allergy, Gonzalez writes, and it’s possible that Smith ate something from the facility with sesame in it that triggered the reaction.

Philadelphia acquired Smith’s rights, along with a future first-round pick, on draft night in exchange for No. 10 overall pick Mikal Bridges. Smith was the No. 16 overall selection out of Texas Tech.

Zhaire Smith Out For Remainder Of 2018 Due To Allergic Reaction

Sixers rookie point guard Zhaire Smith is expected to miss the remainder of 2018 due to complications from an allergic reaction, according to Sarah Todd of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Philadelphia released a statement on Friday explaining Smith’s status.

“Zhaire Smith is recovering well after receiving additional medical treatment for complications derived from the allergic reaction that initially required a thoracoscopy,” the statement read. “His return to athletic training has yet to be determined and as such, there is no timetable for his return to play.

Smith, the 16th overall pick in the 2018 draft, sustained a left foot injury during a developmental camp in Las Vegas this summer and underwent surgery in August to repair a Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal. He was expected to return sometime in late December.

However, during his recovery from the surgery, Smith suffered an allergic reaction in September which resulted in a thoracoscopy. While the team was aware of Smith’s peanut allergy and had food specially prepared for the 19-year-old, neither party was privy to his other allergies, sources told Todd. The thoracoscopy revealed Smith’s allergy to sesame and other foods, Todd noted.

This is the latest in a long list of unusual injuries and conditions that have sidelined Sixers rookies in recent years. Last season, a shoulder issue compromised Markelle Fultz‘s ability to shoot and caused the 2017 first overall pick to miss most of the year. The year prior, Ben Simmons missed the entire season due to surgery to repair a broken foot. The reigning Rookie of the Year was expected to return in December or January that season but the Jones fracture lingered for the entirety of the 2016/17 season.

Former third overall pick, Jahlil Okafor, was involved in a series of off-the-court scuffles in his rookie season and was eventually traded after struggling to solidify a role with the Sixers. Finally, Joel Embiid, who has evolved into one of the NBA’s elite big men, missed his first two NBA seasons due to a rash of injuries.

Atlantic Notes: Leonard, Smith, Williams, Brand

Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard showed flashes of brilliance in his debut with the team on Saturday, finishing with 12 points, three assists and one steal in 19 minutes of action.

“I think everybody saw Kawhi, he was shaking off some rust, right?” coach Nick Nurse asked postgame, according to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. “But you can obviously see the level that he has and I think he looks like we’re all running around really fast and he gets it and everything goes into slow motion. It’s kind of a gift for guys that are as good as him and it’s neat to watch, too.”

Leonard was traded to the Raptors in July after a tumultuous end to his stint with the Spurs. He missed most of last season due to injury, with Saturday’s preseason game marking his first contest since January.

“I think it’s just going to take on-court minutes, getting the experience together, going out there and playing and getting a feel for the overall team, the overall game that he likes to play,” Kyle Lowry said of Leonard. “And the pace. We played at a really good pace tonight. It was a fun game, just good to get out there and compete against another team.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

 

Sixers Notes: Brand, Harris, Z. Smith, Simmons

Elton Brand‘s rise to GM will make the Sixers a more attractive destination for free agents, former agent David Falk tells David Murphy of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Falk, who represented Brand during his playing career, said the new GM is in a perfect spot to transform the franchise.

“I think he’s in a window where he is young enough where people know him as a player and he’s old enough to understand the business side,” Falk said. “I think that [the Sixers] have a great core, two very special young players in [Joel] Embiid and [Ben] Simmons. It’s one of the top 10 media markets in the country. There’s a great history to the franchise. And I think that today’s generation of players has demonstrated a desire to team up … they have two-thirds of the equation here. They need a third or possibly a fourth. I think it’s going to be very attractive to a lot of players.”

Falk said Brand showed he can handle the job through the amount of effort he put into running the organization’s G League team in Delaware last season.

There’s more today from Philadelphia:

  • Brand and coach Brett Brown will run the team as partners, owner Josh Harris explained to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers won’t fill Bryan Colangelo’s former post of president of basketball operations, Harris added. Brand and Brown are expected to collaborate on decisions and will report to Harris and the ownership group. “Ultimately, Brett is the on-the-court voice,” Harris said. “Elton is the off-the-court voice. Elton will have kind of the loudest voice off the court, and final decision-making authority subject to ownership.”
  • First-round pick Zhaire Smith underwent a follow-up appointment this week after having surgery in August to repair a Jones fracture in his left foot, the Sixers announced in an email. Doctors are pleased with his progress and he has been cleared to put full weight on the foot. Smith will be evaluated again in four weeks. The team also offered updates on Shake Milton, who has been cleared for limited contract after suffering a stress fracture in his back, and Landry Shamet, who has been fully cleared after spraining his right ankle.
  • Among the topics Simmons addressed at this year’s media day was an upcoming television show based on his life, relays Australian website news.com.au. “Brotherly Love” has received a script commitment from NBC, with LeBron James of SpringHill Entertainment listed as an executive producer.

Sixers Expect Zhaire Smith To Return Around Christmas

Zhaire Smith isn’t expected to become the latest Sixers first-round pick to miss his entire rookie season, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who reports that the team believes Smith will be available to play in a game sometime around Christmas.

Smith, the 16th overall pick in the 2018 draft, sustained a left foot injury during a developmental camp in Las Vegas this summer and underwent surgery in August to repair a Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal.

It generally takes about six to eight weeks for a Jones fracture to heal following surgery, perhaps with another two or three weeks of recovery time, Pompey notes. However, the Sixers have no desire to rush Smith back onto the court, particularly since the club isn’t necessarily counting on the rookie swingman to be a key part of its rotation in 2018/19.

A source tells Pompey that the Christmas timetable for Smith will hinge on the rookie getting in shape and not suffering any setbacks.

In recent years, the 76ers have had some bad injury luck with several of their top draft picks. Joel Embiid didn’t play in a game until his third NBA season, Nerlens Noel and Ben Simmons missed their full rookie campaigns, and Markelle Fultz appeared in just 14 games in 2017/18.

Fellow Rookies Pick Ayton, Sexton As RoY Favorites

For the 10th time in 12 years, John Schuhmann of NBA.com got the opportunity to ask the NBA’s incoming crop of rookies a series of questions related to their fellow draftees.

Historically, the NBA rookies haven’t been particularly clairvoyant when it comes to their predictions — they haven’t accurately identified a Rookie of the Year winner since Kevin Durant in 2007/08. Still, it’s an interesting exercise, and one that occasionally results in a dead-on prediction, like when last year’s rookie class named Donovan Mitchell the steal of the 2017 draft.

Here are a few of the most interesting responses from this year’s rookies about the 2018/19 class:

  • Deandre Ayton (Suns) and Collin Sexton (Cavaliers) are viewed as the co-favorites for the Rookie of the Year award this season, with each player earning 18% of the vote. No other rookie had more than a 9% share of the vote.
  • Opinions were a little more divided on which player would have the best long-term NBA career, with Wendell Carter Jr. (Bulls) narrowly earning that title by receiving 13% of the vote. Interestingly, reigning EuroLeague MVP Luka Doncic (Mavericks) wasn’t picked by a single player for this question.
  • No. 48 overall pick Keita Bates-Diop (Timberwolves) was named the steal of the 2018 NBA draft by his fellow rookies, edging out 14th overall pick Michael Porter Jr. (Nuggets) and 18th overall pick Lonnie Walker (Spurs).
  • Trae Young (Hawks) is widely considered the best shooter and play-maker in this year’s class. Jevon Carter (Grizzlies) earned the most votes for best rookie defender, while Zhaire Smith (Sixers) is viewed as the most athletic rookie.
  • Be sure to check out Schuhmann’s full piece for the rest of the rookie survey results.

Zhaire Smith Undergoes Foot Surgery

AUGUST 10: Smith underwent surgery on Thursday evening to repair the Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his left foot, the Sixers announced in a press release. The club intends to update Smith’s recovery timetable at a later date.

AUGUST 7: An MRI on the injured left foot of Sixers rookie Zhaire Smith has revealed a Jones fracture, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports. According to Charania, Smith – who hurt his foot on Monday during a developmental camp in Las Vegas – will see another specialist in Philadelphia, but is expected to undergo surgery later this week.

It’s a tough blow for a 76ers team that has had bad luck with injuries to top draft picks in recent years. Former third overall pick Joel Embiid didn’t appear in a regular season game until his third year in the NBA, 2016’s No. 1 selection Ben Simmons missed his entire rookie season, and 2017’s top pick Markelle Fultz played just 14 games last year.

While Smith won’t enter the NBA faced with the same expectations that Embiid, Simmons, and Fultz had, he was Philadelphia’s top selection in the 2018 draft. The former Texas Tech forward, the No. 16 pick, was acquired by the Sixers on draft night along with a future first-rounder in a trade that sent 10th overall pick Mikal Bridges to Phoenix.

The Sixers likely won’t announce a timeline for Smith’s recovery until after he undergoes surgery, but the team has been very cautious with injuries to key young players. While that doesn’t necessarily mean we won’t see Smith at all during his rookie year, a similar injury sidelined Simmons for a full season in 2016/17, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic notes (via Twitter).

Even without Smith, the Sixers figure to have a good amount of depth on the wing, with J.J. Redick, Robert Covington, and Wilson Chandler all in line for major roles.

Atlantic Notes: Z. Smith, Monroe, Nets, Irving

Sixers rookie guard Zhaire Smith suffered a left foot injury during a development camp in Las Vegas on Monday, the team announced this morning in a press release. According to the club, the 16th overall pick is headed back to Philadelphia for further evaluations on his injured foot.

The Sixers’ announcement doesn’t offer up a preliminary diagnosis and is short on specifics, so the severity of Smith’s foot injury isn’t clear. Training camps will begin in less than two months, but if Smith’s recovery is a short-term one, he could still be ready to go by the time the preseason begins.

Here are a few more odds and ends from across the Atlantic division:

  • The Raptorsdeal with Greg Monroe signals that the team appears to be “punting on the concept of elite room protection,” according to Eric Koreen of The Athletic, who suggests that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Meanwhile, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star views the decision to sign a veteran like Monroe over an untested developmental player as a reflection of the Raptors’ title aspirations.
  • During their rebuilding process, the Nets have showed a knack for turning marginal players into reliable contributors. Net Income of NetsDaily wonders if Treveon Graham could become Brooklyn’s next project of that sort, following in the footsteps of players like Joe Harris and Spencer Dinwiddie.
  • The 2018/19 season has yet to begin, but oddsmakers are already looking ahead to 2019 player movement. As NBC Sports Boston relays, the Celtics and Knicks have been installed by one bookmaker as the early favorites for Kyrie Irving‘s free agency.

Sixers Sign First-Rounder Zhaire Smith

The Sixers have signed first-round pick Zhaire Smith, according to the team’s website.

Smith, whose rights were acquired in a draft-night trade with Suns, will receive approximately $2.6MM in his first season.

The 6’5” swingman was selected No. 16 overall after playing one season at Texas Tech, where he averaged 11.3 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.1 BPG and 1.1 SPG in 28.4 MPG.

Smith is unlikely to receive significant playing time in his first season for one of the Eastern Conference’s top clubs. He will play on the Sixers’ summer league team.