Updated: Friday, 1:30 a.m.
So much for being the City of Brotherly Love.
The Sixers drafted Villanova product Mikal Bridges with the No. 10 overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft Thursday (see story). However, a short time later they sent Bridges to Phoenix for No. 16 pick Zhaire Smith and a 2021 unprotected first-round selection from Miami.
The deal was first reported by Yahoo! Sports' Shams Charania.
“About one minute when Phoenix was picking they said I was going to be traded, so when I walked across that stage Philly was on my mind,” Smith said on how he learned about the deal.
The high-flying Smith worked out twice for the Sixers during the pre-draft process.
Smith averaged 11.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists a game as a freshman for Texas Tech in 2017-18. The 19-year-old was also extremely efficient as he shot 55.6 percent from the field and 45.0 percent from three-point range.
While Smith’s calling cards are athleticism and defense, he was also able to show the Sixers enough of his shooting and playmaking during those two workouts for them to make a move.
“The fact that he has a foundation that is incredibly unique in his relation to his athleticism,” Sixers head coach and interim general manager Brett Brown said. “The foundation that he has in his character, the foundation that he has in his defense, the incredible growth that we are seeing in his shot. His ability to create his own shot. There is no mystery of how we want to play here in Philadelphia, nor is there no mystery on the direction our sport is growing.
“When you weigh it all out, and I anointed him ‘1B,’ it’s really an incredible situation that we had to navigate through once we got that offer.”