Texas Tech's Zhaire Smith stands out in Sixers predraft workout

SIXR13-j
Texas Tech guard Zhaire Smith, left, drives against Loyola-Chicago’s Donte Ingram during the Sixers workout.

Zhaire Smith has gone from a three-star college recruit to a potential lottery pick in the June 21 NBA draft.

“That’s crazy how things can change in one year if you just put in the work,” the Texas Tech combo guard said Tuesday after working out for the 76ers. “If you just put in work, things can happen like this.”

The 6-foot-4 guard said he worked on his game “three to four times” a day during his lone year in college. The 19-year-old stood out in the first of two Sixers workouts Tuesday. Smith competed with Creighton guard Marcus Foster, Loyola-Chicago swingman Donte Ingram, Georgetown forward Marcus Derrickson, Middle Tennessee State forward Nick King, and Oregon forward Mikyle McIntosh.

Villanova swingman Mikal Bridges had a private workout afterward.

This was Smith’s fourth of six scheduled workouts with NBA teams. He previously worked out with the Denver Nuggets, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Clippers.  Smith also will work out with the Charlotte Hornets and Phoenix Suns.

>>READ MORE: Markelle Fultz’s summer-league availability still up in the air

His quickness was on full display Tuesday, as defenders had a tough time staying in front of him. He also blocked Foster’s shot in a one-on-one drill.  Smith later drove the lane, stopped and delivered a one-handed dunk on a defender at the conclusion of a drill.

The Sixers have the 10th and 26th overall picks in the first round of the June 21 NBA draft. They also have four second-round picks: Nos. 38, 39, 56 and 60.  Smith would be a great option if the Sixers traded their 10th pick to move back a few slots in the draft.

The native of Garland, Texas, was told that he could become a lottery pick at the beginning of his college season.

“When I first worked out with Texas Tech, [all of his] teammates saw it and Coach even saw it,” Smith said. “He was like, ‘Wow, you can be one-and-done if you just keep it up.’ I wasn’t paying attention. But I felt it during the middle of the season, late.”

NBADraft.net’s mock draft has him going 13th overall to the Clippers. Sports Illustrated has the Suns selecting Smith 16thand CBS Sports has him going 23rd to the Indiana Pacers. The Sixers have two first-round selections, the 10th and 26th overall.

Smith averaged 11.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 blocks and 1.1 steals this past season. He was named to the all-Big 12 newcomer team and to the conference all-defensive team.

He likes defending more than anything else.

“I feel like anybody can score,” Smith said. “If you can do that small thing that Coach wants you to do, you can do good in the league.”

Wednesday workout

West Virginia’s Jevon Carter and Miami’s Bruce Brown Jr. will headline Wednesday’s 76ers predraft workout.

The two guards will be joined by Bucknell guard Stephen Brown, Wake Forest guard Bryant Crawford, Michigan swingman Duncan Robinson and forward Maverick Rowan of the G-League’s Lakeland Magic.

Carter and Brown could be late first-round selections, but are most likely to be drafted in the second round.

The 6-1 Carter averaged 17.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 3.0 steals as a senior this season. He also 39.3 percent from the college three-point line. Carter won Big 12 defensive player of the year honors twice.

Brown, a native of Boston, averaged 11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals as a sophomore.  However, the 6-foot-5, 190-pounder only played in 19 games due to a left foot injury.

A season before, he set freshman records for points scored (391) and minutes played (1,053). CBS Sports mock draft has him going 30th overall to the Atlanta Hawks.

The Sixers had predraft workouts on Monday and Tuesday, and are expected to have them throughout the week. Reading, Pa., native Lonnie Walker IV and Michigan State’s Miles Bridges were the headliners of Monday’s workout.

NBA Summer League

The NBA has released the preliminary-round schedule for its summer league on the campus at the UNLV.  The Sixers will open the tournament on July 6 against the Boston Celtics on at 7:30 p.m. ET at Thomas & Mack Center. On the next day, the Sixers will face the Los Angeles Lakers at 11:30 p.m. at Thomas & Mack. Then they’ll compete against the Washington Wizards at 5:30 p.m. at the Cox Pavilion on July 9.

The tournament portion of the summer league begins with opening-round games on July 11. The championship is scheduled for July 17.