Philadelphia 76ers rookie Zhaire Smith now has a clear outlook and expectations going into the second half of the season.
With most of this week overshadowed by the All-Star break, there was only one game the Philadelphia 76ers played in before this rookie report. However, despite Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons being the main Sixers talk during the break, there was one important update regarding the club’s first selection from this past NBA draft.
16th pick, 2018
For the fans hoping to see Zhaire Smith play in a Sixers jersey this season, they’re in for some bad news. Keith Pompey of Philly.com reported that head coach Brett Brown doesn’t anticipate on having Smith playing for Philly this season, however there is a chance of him getting some games in with the Sixers G-League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats, this season.
However, Smith did practice with the Sixers this past week and Pompey quoted Brown about Smith in the following tweet.
#Sixers coach Brett Brown on Zhaire Smith practicing today: “You know he ran around a little bit. He competed. It was great to see him. You are reminded of how athletic he is. He had a bounce today. It’s just good to have him included with his teammates. ”
He was around 60%
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) February 20, 2019
It’s saddening that the Sixers have yet another rookie missing a season, though it’s a positive that Brown has such a positive outlook on the rookie.
36th pick, 2017
Due to the sore left knee that Joel Embiid is currently dealing with, it gave Jonah Bolden a chance at playing time. Bolden came off the bench for Boban Marjanovic against the Miami Heat, but didn’t do too much to impress in regards to the box score. In 15 minutes he had four rebounds, a foul and turnover. Although unimpressive, Bolden should continue to get minutes until Embiid returns.
Season stats: 76ers
54th pick, 2018
There’s no new updates regarding Shake Milton since the last rookie report. He is still recovering from the surgery to repair his broken finger and there’s still sometime before he is suppose to be re-evaluated.
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Haywood Highsmith is slowly becoming a forgotten player on this roster. However, he still has a chance to get playing time with the Sixers. Furkan Korkmaz is out with a torn meniscus, where as both James Ennis and Jonathon Simmons have struggled to produce. If he wants another chance at playing time with the Sixers, then he will first have to play better with the Blue Coats.
In the previous rookie report, Highsmith didn’t appear in Delaware’s starting five for any of the games he played in. However on a positive note, he did return to the starting lineup with the Blue Coats in their one matchup in the past week against the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
In the win against the Mad Ants, Highsmith had 16 points, six rebounds and seven assists, but did so on a bad night shooting. He shot 6-16 from the field and 2-8 from behind the 3-point line. There’s still room for improvement, but he appears to be making strides in his game. If Simmons and Ennis continue to struggle, Brown may be tempted to turn to the undrafted rookie to see what he has in the two-way contract player.
Season Stats: Blue Coats
The news surrounding Smith is disappointing for Philadelphia 76ers fans hoping to see the rookie in action this season. However, the team has solid depth on the wing at the moment and there’s no need to rush Smith back. In the long haul, this move is probably the best.