The curse of Philadelphia 76ers’ first-round draft picks continued. Their most recent selection, shooting guard Zhaire Smith, underwent foot surgery on Thursday in order to repair an acute Jones fracture in his left foot.
The 19-year-old rookie, coming out of Texas Tech, suffered the injury during the 76ers camp in Las Vegas. The team didn’t share a timeline for Smith’s return, but he is expected to miss the start of the season if his foot is in fact broken.
Before Zhaire Smith, there were plenty of Philadelphia 76ers’ rookies who failed to see much of NBA action in their first year. Center Joel Embiid, drafted in 2014, missed two full seasons with an injury before being ready to play. Guard/forward Ben Simmons, who was selected first overall in 2016, also lost an entire NBA season. Finally, the 76ers took guard Markelle Fultz No.1 overall in 2017, but he also didn’t play much in his rookie year due to a shoulder injury. We frankly hope that Smith will have a better introduction to the NBA.
In his lone year at Texas Tech, Zhaire Smith played 37 games and averaged 11.3 points, 1.8 assists, 5.0 rebounds per game while shooting .450 percent from threes. He was selected by the Phoenix Suns with the 16th overall pick in 2018 NBA Draft and traded on the draft night to 76ers along with the Miami Heat’s 2021 first round pick for Mikal Bridges.