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A deeper look at where Zhaire Smith might get drafted

Smith looks to be the first Red Raider drafted since 2004.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Texas Tech vs. Florida Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Usually, when the NBA Draft comes around, most Red Raider fans don’t care. That’s being honest as the last NBA draft pick from the Red Raiders came in 2004 when Andre Emmett was drafted in the second round by Seattle Supersonics. It’s been 14 years but now, the Red Raiders will now have someone else drafted in the NBA draft.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-East Regional-Villanova vs Texas Tech Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Zhaire Smith came in a year ago and we were all excited about that recruiting class with impact players Jarrett Culver, Davide Moretti, and of course the aforementioned Smith. They all came in and made an impact but Smith really out-shined all of them. At 18, his athleticism was off the charts with his incredible speed and leaping ability. Although I knew he would be a good player for Texas Tech, I never imagined him leaving after one year to pursue the NBA.

So now let’s look and see where he is likely to get drafted. There are a few mock drafts out there that have him going in the lottery but many think that he will go in the middle of the first round. His upside is undeniable and his athleticism has been off the charts. He will most likely be the first Red Raider first-round draft pick since Tony Battie went fifth in 1997. Although I do not think Smith will go that high, I do believe that he will go soon after that. I believe that Smith has been one of the best-kept secrets in this draft and that tons of teams will be looking at him with picks ten through twenty. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to look at VTM’s team breakdowns to where some of our writers believe he will go and where he could fit in the best.

This article, however, is not about that. I am going to be looking into where I think he will go and even if a certain Los Angeles team will trade up to get him. I think the highest Smith will go is at 7 to the Chicago Bulls. I am being really optimistic there as I think that there will be enough of the big time players left at 7 for the Bulls to pass on him. He still has a shot to go just after that as I think Magic Johnson and the Lakers will at least try to make a trade to move up and take him between the picks of 9 and 12. The Lakers have the 25th and 47th picks in the draft and I do not think that this will be enough to move up to 12. I do think the Clippers would be willing to give up their 12th pick if they got another second-round pick in addition to the two aforementioned picks. If this trade doesn’t go through I believe it may be because the Clippers want him more than three mediocre draft picks.

That’s right, the Clippers may want to draft Zhaire with the 12th or 13th pick (they have both). This has been a rumor the entire season and was the first place I saw Smith projected was to the Clippers. He has been up and down in the first round but I believe that 12 is the first real chance that Smith has to be taken. The Clippers are looking for wing defenders that are athletic. Smith is arguably the best athlete in the draft and he could fit into any team’s scheme. The Clippers will also be looking at another guard Lonnie Walker IV out of Miami with this pick.

One team that we haven’t talked about much is the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks have the 17th pick in the draft and could be looking for a guard with Zhaire’s skill set. They obviously have superstar Giannis “The Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo. Smith could compliment him well with his defensive prowess. The both of them could guard team’s number one and two options on the other team, while Smith’s developing jump shot and above the rim athleticism could make them an unstoppable combo on the offensive end. Along with point guard Eric Bledsoe, the Bucks could have a solid core of Smith, Antetokounmpo, and Bledsoe.

That’s all I got on Zhaire Smith so far. Where do you think he will be drafted? Let us know in the comment section below!