The Philadelphia 76ers just might have their injured rookie debut this season.
It’s rare when an injured rookie for the Philadelphia 76ers gets to play in year one. That might sound like a joke, but seriously – it’s quite rare. We’ve seen multiple Sixers first-round picks sit out for year one. Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and pretty much Markelle Fultz.
Zhaire Smith seemed like he was going to be the latest, but not so fast. Out of nowhere, the Sixers decided to recall Smith from the Delaware Blue Coats and made him available for the team against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday at home.
Zhaire Smith joins the Sixers
Just last month, Brett Brown gave some not-so-promising updates on Smith. Although he was generally progressing, and expected to play for the Blue Coats at the time, it didn’t sound like Smith would actually debut in 2019. To our surprise though, Smith may play for the first time on Tuesday.
We can’t be so sure about his debut just yet though. Just because Smith got the green light to join the team, he’s only been made available. Typically, when that’s the case, it’s rare that a player gets in. Since Smith is a first-round draft pick though, who has yet to get any real NBA minutes, maybe he will be an exception.
What should we expect if Smith gets into the game? Honestly, not much. While the Sixers should be taking care of business against the Cavaliers, Smith shouldn’t be put on a pedestal. Giving that it will be his first real taste of NBA minutes, the expectations shouldn’t be too high. It’s understandable that fans want to see him succeed right away, they are going to have to trust the process with this one. Hopefully, Smith gets some much-needed playing time so he can gain some experience this season.