Summary: Notes: A teammate of Dwight Howard and Randolph Morris on the AAU Atlanta Celtics. Oak Hill Coach Steve Smith, who has coached Jerry Stackhouse, Ron Mercer and Carmelo Anthony, said Smith is the best athlete he has had at Oak Hill. "There's not any scout I've talked to who doesn't think he's a lottery pick or that he's coming out,'' Steve Smith said. "They're all saying he's top five, a high lottery pick. Seventh or eighth is the worst I've heard and most are saying he'll go between three and five.'' Smith had 15 points and 3 boards in the EA Roundball Classic. Was the MVP of the Nike Hoop Summit scoring 27 points. Smith has officially declared for the NBA draft.
Upside: Think Darius Miles with a jump shot. That's the rep Smith has and why most scouts claim he'll be a top-10 selection if he comes out. Before you get too excited (Miles went No. 3), the comparison evokes both the good and the bad. Smith is a top-notch athlete and has guard skills for his size. He jumps out of the gym and can run all day. Unlike Miles, he's a pretty proficient shooter, though he still needs to improve on his 3-point range.
Downside: The problems, however, are also there. He's rail thin, and scouts wonder how he'll handle the rigors of the NBA. He sometimes shrinks in the paint and isn't the rebounder scouts think he should be for his size. He relies on his athleticism too much at times and still is learning the game. He doesn't have any real go-to moves and sometimes hesitates to take his man off the dribble. His ball-handling needs improvement if he's going to make the transition to the three in the pros.
Insider Projection: With all those holes, is he really a top-six pick? Bernie Bickerstaff blasted him after a recent workout with the Bobcats. Several other teams have questioned his work ethic and his hustle. The tools are all there, but is the head. He's one of the toughest guys in the draft to project. Could go as high as No. 6 or could slip all the way to No. 17.