It appears as if the Philadelphia 76ers will be able to see their first-round pick from this past summer’s draft make his professional debut this week. According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Zhaire Smith is scheduled to make his NBA G-League debut with the Delaware Blue Coats on Friday.
The Blue Coats will be on the road as they take on the Maine Red Claws (Boston Celtics G-League affiliate). Smith has missed most of his rookie season due to a Jones fracture, which he suffered over the summer at a development camp, along with a food allergy.
The former Texas Tech standout underwent a thoracoscopy in September due to the allergy, which caused him to lose a lot of weight.
After he got over both ailments, Smith continued to rehab and practice with the Sixers and the Blue Coats. Just last week, Sixers head coach Brett Brown was asked about the possibility of the 19-year-old joining the big league club.
“No, I don’t [have a return date for him]. I don’t know [if he plays this year]. It wasn’t my expectation, and it still really isn’t,” Brown said (h/t Philly Voice). “
“But I think to see him move around with his teammates, from a human standpoint was pretty cool. In relation to is that going to translate to NBA games…I hope for sure we can get him in a G-League environment, but that is still being advised to me.”
The last time Smith played in a game was last July at the Las Vegas Summer League.
The 16th overall pick averaged 7.7 points, 2.7 assists, and 2.3 rebounds in 24.7 minutes per game in six summer league contests. Even though it was only a small sample size, you could see his potential, especially on the defensive end.
However, the Sixers will probably want to see what he can do offensively too in his stint with Delaware. The Sixers acquired Smith in a draft night trade with the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Mikal Bridges (No. 10 pick) and the Miami Heat’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick.