J.R. Smith
Shooting Guard (Rank: #13) | 6-7, 227
High School
Draft Board: Round 1 | Round 2
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J.R. Smith
High school guard J.R. Smith is now on NBA scouts' radar screens
Notes: Dominated at USA Basketball's 2003 Youth Development Festival averaging 25 ppg. Didn't really come onto NBA scouts radar screens until this year's group of All-Star Games. Named co-MVP of the EA Sports Classic with 16 points and four assists. Named co-MVP of the McDonald's All-American game when he scored 25 points and handed out five assists. Smith's long range three points (he was 5-10 from outside) wowed scouts. He also put on a dunk fest at the Nike Hoop Summit that highlighted his ability to get and finish at the basket. Has hired SFX agent Arn Tellem meaning his college eligibility is done.

Upside: Think Vince Carter with a better jump shot. Another scout compared Smith to the next Paul Pierce. Another to a taller version of Fred Jones. It was tough to find a scout or GM who doesn't like him. He's got a 44 inch vertical jump, very deep three point range, is explosive and already has an NBA body.

Downside: He's not a great defender though he certainly has the physical capabilities. He doesn't own much of a mid range game at this point. His game is all about either jacking up long threes or taking his defender to the basket. If he added a nice mid range jumper or learned how to post up weaker defenders, he'd be devastating. He has a cocky attitude which helps or hurts him depending on the scout you talk to.

Insider Projection: Smith rode great buzz at the McDonalds game all the way to the draft. But can he sustain it? He looked great in an informal workout in LA one day. And then the next day, in front of the Blazers, he was awful. Smith's outside jumper, the one he stunned scouts with at the high school all-stars games, was in rare poor form. His shot kept coming up short in shooting drills and looked even worse when Emmett put a hand in his face. There have been similar reports coming out of some of his other workouts. While one or two bad workouts won't kill you, it's tough to imagine that several lottery teams like the Jazz and Blazers are that high on him after poor workouts. Still he's a great talent and may be the most NBA ready high school player in the draft. Hard to believe he'll slip past New Oreleans at No. 18.



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