Kerrsed wrote:I see a lot of people saying Smith cant play PF and questioning his fit next to Ayton. You guys do realize that he played PF all last season next to a C (Bruno Fernando) who now plays for the Atlanta Hawks right?
Throughout his HS career he also was a PF.Maryland big man Jalen Smith had a very strong final season for the Terps, averaging 15.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.4 blocks while leading UMD to a Big Ten title. He says he did all of that while playing out of position.
That could be a reference to big men Makhi and Makhel Mitchell transferring out midseason. Smith had to play center when he, and apparently the coaching staff, felt he was a natural power forward.
"I was pretty much playing out of position most of the year because [coach Mark] Turgeon wanted me to play the four, but most of the year I played at the five due to issues we had behind the scenes with the team," Smith said.
Now dont get me wrong, he played great at C when asked to, that speaks of his versatility. He is a stretch 4 that can also be a stretch 5. I dont care what the Talking Heads say about its easy to grab a guy already in the league that can do what he does at C, but thats BS. 3 Point shooting C's that are also strong defenders are a bit of a rarity. Jokic is one, Vučević, Ibaka, Turner to some point, JJJ. Point being most of the C's that are 3 point shooters arnt really known for their defense, they are more the "Soft" guys, and most of the top defensive type C's are the guys that have their asses planted in the paint.
Now the reason why im bringing up 3 point shooting defensive C's when i just went on a tangent about Smith being a PF and playing next to Ayton is this: David Kevin (@theIVpointplay) brought up something that a lot of you are going to hate, the idea that we very well may look at running Ayton out at PF since his footwork is a bit better. In reality it would be kinda like the position-less SG/SF/PF that you see in the NBA, guys that can play more than one position and not directly defining what they are playing because they have the same skillset as other players. They just play. But instead of SF/PF or SG/SF, we would be doing it at PF/C. Fact is we now have two large (6'11) and long guys that are excellent defenders, excellent rebounders, and can hit the 3 ball. Ayton is the quicker of the two and has better dribbling and footwork. I have also seen more mid-range from Ayton, but im not saying Smith doesnt have that aspect to his game, i just havent watched enough actual games to see it happen.
I could totally see the two playing next to each other, and possibly Ayton playing the position he says he really is (PF) or just outright going position-less like i said. Imagine the defensive possibilities of a Bridges/Ayton/Smith line. Thats not even factoring in CP3's defense.
Once again, dont let the talking heads and media hot takes lead you astray. Listen to the 2 guys who know these prospects the best, Givony and Schmitz.“Has good size for an NBA power forward, at 6-foot-10, 225 pounds with a 7-foot-2 wingspan. Saw most of his minutes at center this season and should be able to play both big man spots in the NBA,” wrote Jonathan Givony. “ Versatile offensive player. Made 37% of his 3-pointers and 75% of his free throws on a fairly large sample. Capable of attacking slower defenders from the perimeter or scoring in the post with either hand. Made more than 60% of his 2-point attempts. Competitive on both ends. Length and excellent timing made him an effective shot-blocker. Uses both hands to protect the rim. Also a productive rebounder.”
Schmitz had The Pelicans @ #13 as the perfect spot for him, so this write up is about them, but very telling:If there's one big in this draft who perfectly complements Zion Williamson, it's Smith. He spaces the floor as a deadeye shooter while protecting the rim at a high level, two areas in which Williamson is still improving. Smith would allow Williamson to focus on working defenses as a mismatch driver, giving Zion more space to operate. Smith also has the versatility to fit alongside last year's top-10 pick, Jaxson Hayes.- SCHMITZ
So a big who can play NEXT to a Zion type player, but also can play next to a more traditional C like Hayes. Both experts say he can play both PF/C positions. Im telling you, listen to the guys who are the real experts on these players.
He struggled to stay in front of guys. He defended well around the rim, not on the perimeter. Also, Ayton played the 4 in college next to Ristic, and Ayton would be much less valuable playing the 4 for us than the 5. Would you say Ayton coudl play the 4 for us coming out of college?
For this to be a justifiable pick, Phx needs to be 100% certain he can play the 4, meaning they needed to have run him up against our wings in the workout and had him do a litany of sliding drills. My hope is that happened, but for now it is a big question mark because his main weaknesses in college were playmaking (handling and passing), and defending on the perimeter.