|DraftExpress: RT @DaveTelep: Like this. Talked to Jason Smith for a blog and Mitch McGary been playing well lately. http://t.co/TNnsWWhr|
|DraftExpress: Love the way @Brewsterhoops defends. Coach Jason Smith making sure his guys are prepared for the intensity level of college basketball. #nps|
TX A&M Corpus Christi, PRO
H: 6' 3"|
W: 190 lbs
(23 Years Old)
Current: G |
High School: Grace Prep
Hometown: Miami, FL
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Las Vegas Summer League Day Six|
July 17, 2008
This game was the epitome of what made Smith a first rounder in 2007. His combination of athleticism, size, and shooting touch was on full display today, and this game is an example of what Smith can do if he reaches his potential. The young power forward has never been on to show major glimpses in terms of production, which is what makes this game such an interesting representation of what he has to offer. Smith drilled numerous jump shots, showing the touch the made some believe that he could develop NBA three-point range. He displayed a nice turnaround jumper, but primarily acted as a catch and shoot outlet today for his teammates driving to the basket. Defensively, Smith kept a lot base when defending the ball and boxing out, allowing him to neutralize Washington’s quality big men on some occasions. He had some problems defending Andray Blatche, and doesn’t have great footwork defensively when his man faces up. Overall, this game offered a glimpse of what Smith can do when the flow of game suits his skills. He’ll need to develop his repertoire and aggressiveness to show these same glimpses on the NBA level.
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Las Vegas Summer League Day Five
July 16, 2008
Smith came through with a nice performance today. Unlike past contests, Smith showed good hustle today, running back on defense on every play and getting his hands on a handful of loose balls. While he’s not always the most focused player, it was nice to see Smith show some scrappiness. His play today offensive was encouraging, outside of a fadeaway turnaround that didn’t draw iron. Smith still needs to learn how to use his athleticism to get to the rim when he posts up, not go away from it. He also needs to be stronger with the ball, as he gets tripped far too often. Defensively, he leaves a lot to be desired, failing to use leverage when boxing out and committing too hard in help side.
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Las Vegas Summer League Day Two
July 13, 2008
Smith had a very nice outing today, using his incredible combination of size and athleticism to put together a nice overall performance. He is a capable offensive player due to his touch, but needs to develop a mean streak to even reach his potential. He’s got a solid repertoire that includes some spin moves that get him separation due to his impressive quickness. His aggressiveness leaves a lot to be desired, and it almost seems like he gives up after he makes a play, letting the ball go when he meets contact in the lane of allowing his man to score after blocking his shot. Though Smith has intimidating size, he will commit some unnecessary fouls by reaching over on post shooters. If the light ever turns on for Smith, he’s got all the tools to be a very good player on both ends.
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Filling in the blanks: Jason Smith
June 10, 2007
Although he’s technically still testing the waters at the time this article was published, every indication we’re receiving says that there is absolutely no chance at all that Smith will be returning to Colorado State for his senior year.
|Colorado State Athletics|
That’s really not a surprise when you consider how good of a prospect Smith is on paper—being exactly the type of player that comes into a workout and makes scouts salivate at his potential.
Standing just a hair under 7-feet with an excellent frame, albeit with short arms, Smith has the tools to play either big man position, particularly once he adds more strength. He’s also a very fluid athlete on top of that, being capable of running the floor almost as well as any big in this draft. Quick, coordinated and extremely agile, he has a nice first step and looks pretty explosive getting off his feet. In short, Smith’s physical characteristics are never going to be an issue for him.
In terms of his skill-set, Smith is pretty unique here as well. He can handle the ball extremely well (for a player his size) in the open floor, particularly with his right hand, and shows the potential to create his own shot from the perimeter thanks to his solid first step.
Having a very nice touch on top of that, Smith can hit shots with range out to 18-20 feet (he shot 77% from the free throw line), and even pull up off the dribble on occasion from mid-range—a (still unpolished) skill you rarely see from a player at that position in college.
It’s in this part of his game—doing guard-esqe things like utilizing jab-steps from the triple threat position and getting his man in the air intelligently with a shot-fake and then jumping into him for the foul (And-1?) ala Kobe or D-Wade—that the comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki come from. And while that its completely unrealistic to expect him to develop into that good of a player in the NBA, it’s not hard to see how much upside he has.
In the post, Smith has a gorgeous turnaround jumper he likes to go to, showing nice shooting mechanics and great touch in the process. He can also use his quickness here to get around defenders at the Mountain West Conference level with ease, utilizing spin-moves and such craftily.
When double-teamed, Smith shows above-average awareness finding the open man, although you wouldn’t necessarily say that his feel for the game is off the charts. Defensively, Smith has very nice lateral quickness and can step out and hedge screens on the perimeter with ease, although his awareness sometimes leaves something to be desired here as we’ll get to shortly.
|Colorado State Athletics|
In terms of weaknesses, we find quite a few, although none that can’t technically be improved on with time. For one, and most importantly, he’s obviously an extremely late bloomer who is pretty far away from making a substantial impact in the NBA in his rookie season. He lacks a lot of small things in his game that will require substantial amount of one on one training to keep him on the right track towards reaching his full potential.
Smith’s footwork, balance, decision-making, fundamentals, and more are all very much underdeveloped, as if he didn’t receive very much coaching at all in college. He relies very heavily on his right hand in the post, even wanting to switch to it unnaturally when finishing on the left side of the rim. He doesn’t have a real go-to move he can rely on in the paint, preferring to fade-away from his defender rather than go up and finish strong with contact.
Tougher, stronger inside players can really bother him by putting a body on him and sitting on his preferred right-handed moves, and Smith does not react extremely well when things aren’t going his way—tossing up bad shots or making poor decisions. He looks a bit immature at times, and seems to get frustrated very easily. He’s a guy that can tantalize with his potential, but doesn’t seem to really know his limitations as a basketball player at this point.
The thing that might hold him back most from contributing significant minutes on most NBA teams (excluding the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns of the world) right off the bat is the work he does (or actually doesn’t do) defensively and on the glass. Although he averaged 10 rebounds per game in college, Smith doesn’t project as an amazing rebounder at the next level. He has short arms, small hands, poor technique in terms of boxing out, and a tendency to get outmuscled and outhustled in the post. He probably does have more potential here than we’re giving him credit for, though, because of his size, frame, quickness, reactivity and coordination, all of which are excellent. To really reach his full potential as an NBA player, though, Smith will have to develop the mentality of being a beast at all times—going after each and every rebound as if the outcome of the game depended solely on that. Right now you just don’t see that enough out of him.
|Colorado State Athletics|
Defensively, Smith gives up position too easily to players he’s matching up with—although there is always the legit possibility that these are direct orders from his coaching staff who can ill afford not having him on the floor. Still, he rarely looks like he’s giving 100% on this end of the floor, not being fully committed to stopping his man and being pushed around far too easily for someone his size. A bit of toughness and character is what we often come away missing from him.
Sifting through the numerous game tapes we acquired, it doesn’t seem like his teammates or coaching staff (who were unsurprisingly fired recently) did him any favors at all, though, which makes him particularly tough to evaluate compared with other players in this draft. Opposing teams knew that shutting him down would almost guarantee a victory, and for this reason he saw countless double teams throughout his career. He also played as a back to the basket center fairly often, even though he obviously projects as a face the basket power forward at the next level. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Colorado State didn’t get anywhere close to the maximum they could out of him, and that his best days are clearly still ahead of him.
Although some might consider this evaluation to be on the harsh side—he really would be considered a lock for the top-5 of the draft if it weren’t for the weaknesses outlined above. Once you get outside of the top 10 portion of the draft, you really don’t find players with the kind of upside Smith has as a super talented athletic 7-footer who is just starting to come into his own as a basketball player. As mentioned, his strengths are extraordinarily unique, while his weaknesses are all for the most part correctable, even though players rarely change their mentality significantly once they become pros. That makes him one of the more high risk/high reward propositions of this draft. Look for him to get serious draft consideration starting around the 10th pick in the draft (Sacramento), but more likely from 16-18, Washington, New Jersey and Golden State—all of which would fit him like a glove. He likely does not fall past pick #21 (Philadelphia), where he reportedly recently had a fantastic workout. Look for him to announce he’s staying in the draft and hiring an agent on or very close to the 18th.
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Weekly NCAA Performers, 1/17/07, Part One
January 17, 2007
Skilled Colorado State 7-footer Jason Smith is a hard prospect to catch, so games like last weekend’s against San Diego State are a special treat. It has been a while since this writer has taken in Smith, and it appears that his game hasn’t changed all that much in recent months, for better or worse.
Against the Sun Devils, Smith displayed most of everything that has kept scouts in the gym at Colorado State games over the past two seasons. His turnaround jumper would be an impressive weapon for any post player, let alone a 7-footer with the impressive touch and frame of Smith. He can create his own shot from virtually anywhere inside the 3-point arc, and looks great doing it. Smith has an impressive feel for the game once he gets into his move, utilizing good body control and timing to finish plays around the basket. While he isn’t an overly impressive athlete at this stage, Smith does an adequate job on the boards and alters his fair share of shots.
Unfortunately, several of the areas we had hoped to see development in remain issues. First of all, while Smith has a phenomenal frame for a skill-oriented 7-footer, he really needs add strength. He runs the court decently well, but struggles to get moving and doesn’t appear to handle physical defense very well. Smith has the potential to develop his body to the point where he is an above-average athlete in the NBA, but it would be nice to see a bit more improvement over the past two offseasons.
Furthermore, while Smith puts up excellent all-around numbers, he probably doesn’t impact the game as much as he could. Part of this is the sub-par team he plays for, but Smith generally scores his points in short spurts. He rarely makes the blue-collar play, and routinely gets himself into foul trouble.
This makes it hard to shed any light on Jason Smith’s status as a 2007 draft prospect at the moment. The 7-footer still has quite a bit of developing to do, so it is easy to see him sticking around another year considering how many big men could make the jump this spring. At the same time, how much more can Smith do to improve his stock playing for Colorado State? At some point, either Smith as an individual or the Rams as a team must get to that next level, and it should be interesting to see what he can do to push his stock to the point where testing the waters would be a worthwhile venture.
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