Nick Smith Jr. Prospect Watch: He’s Heating Up

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Nick Smith Jr. on the court for Arkansas
Photo via: Arkansas Athletics

The San Antonio Spurs are still hovering near the bottom of the standings and that means they should have plenty of options at the top of the NBA Draft this summer. One of those prospects who will be available to them is Arkansas freshman Nick Smith Jr. He’s had a bit of a roller-coaster season as he started the season injured and got injured again in the middle of it. However, he’s started to come along in the last few weeks.

The 6-foot-5, 185-pound guard does a little bit of everything in the backcourt. He has shown some flashes of deep shooting and getting to the rim in his limited time. He has a deep bag of moves and is incredibly shifty in his movements with the ball. Here are his stats from the 14 games he has been able to play this season.

  • 14.0 PPG, 2.0 APG, 1.8 RPG, 0.9 SPG
  • 39.1 FG%, 34.4 3P%, 73.9 FT%
  • 15.4 PER, 100.1 ORtg, 102.3 DRtg

Nick Smith Jr. Breakdown

Coming out of high school, Smith was hailed as a superb shooter and ball handler. The ball handling has shown itself quite a bit in his short stint and it’s clear he can run the offense at the next level. He has the ball on a string and can get to just about any spot on the floor. What made him lethal in high school was his ability to pull up from anywhere too, but that has not revealed itself as much at the collegiate level.

Smith hasn’t displayed a huge penchant for making defensive plays yet. However, he does have the potential with his speed and plus wingspan. Part of that is not having played consistently over a four or five-month season and part of it is not wanting to be too much of an alpha dog when he steps on the floor as that’s the role he usually plays.

The most exciting part of Smith’s game is his touch. He is great in the floater game and can shoot the ball well. However, his numbers don’t reflect this season. That was one of his calling cards as a five-star recruit coming out of high school. However, he uses that as a crutch to not get all the way to the rim at times. That should come with gaining strength and putting on weight at the next level. Knowing all this and even still with an uneven season at Arkansas, Smith should find himself getting picked in the top 10 in this year’s draft.

Stay tuned for more NBA draft prospects on Project Spurs.

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