Recently, the VTM staff did a whole series arguing the best NBA fit for the other Smith, Zhaire. While everyone made pretty compelling arguments fo their teams, Zhaire Smith to the San Antonio Spurs was clearly the favorite destination. Oh yeah, I happened to write that one too, so shameless self-promotion here.
Anyways, I felt compelled to write something for the less talked about Smith, Zach. Super Duper Zach has his sights set on making an NBA roster, and I’m here to speculate as to whether he has as shot or not.
A rough year
This time last year, Smith considered entering his name into the 2017 NBA Draft. However, Smith decided to return to Lubbock for one more year. This was big for Coach Beard and the Red Raiders. Smith wanted the opportunity to play one more year and hopefully improve his draft stock.
Unfortunately for Zach Smith, he did not improve his draft stock. As we all know, a foot injury kept Smith off the court for a majority of the season. As the Red Raiders learned how to play without Smith, Smith was already planning his comeback tour. Smith returned late in the season just in time for a NCAA Tournament run.
What is he up to?
Zach Smith is currently working out with NBA skills trainer, Jordan Lawley. A clip of Zach working out was posted online the other day:
It looks to me like Smith has put his foot injury behind him. While he was cleared from injury late last season, I felt like Smith’s athleticism was never back to 100%. But let’s not forget what he is capable of:
Today is the day I was originally supposed to get out my boot and begin rehab.... ♂️ pic.twitter.com/MMKLCZ2BBr— Zach Smith (@SuperDuperZach) March 30, 2018
What does he have to prove?
Zach Smith has an uphill battle ahead of him. When Smith examined his draft stock in the 2017 NBA Draft, he was coming off a 2017 season where he averaged 12 points and 7 boards a game. However, this wasn't enough for him to take the leap. Unfortunately, his numbers declined after his foot injury. Teams are going to knock him for a lack of production despite his injury.
Another issue I think NBA teams might have is size. Smith is listed at 6’ 8” and 220 pounds. This is slightly undersized for a NBA power forward. I expect teams to want to play Smith at the small forward and maybe the stretch four. The problem is, Smith has not shown the ability to consistently hit the three. Last season, Smith shot 17% from downtown, which was down from almost 40% from the previous season.
How does he make it?
I think for Zach Smith to make it to the NBA, he is really going to have to relish the role of the stretch 4. A big man who is able to guard multiple positions and capable of stepping out and hitting a jump shot from the wing. I expect that Smith is working on his shot as I’m typing this. He needs to prove to teams that he is the player he was a year ago. Not only that but better than a player he was a year ago.
I don’t expect Zach Smith to hear his name called in the 2018 NBA Draft. However, if he can prove to an NBA team that he is healthy. I think he could secure a summer league roster spot and will be given a shot to make an NBA roster. Plenty of players have made a name for themselves in summer league, some players need further development in the NBA G-League. Smith may be one of these players, but it is hard to ignore his athleticism and presence around the rim. This gives him a shot.
Do you think Zack has a shot in the NBA? Let me hear from you. Comment below and I will have a spirited debate with you. And remember:
Be more like Zach Smith everyone. Shoot your shot people!