NBA Draft Profile: J.R. Smith

In the days leading up to the June 24 NBA Draft, will give you the scouting report on the nine high school players with a shot to be selected in the first round of this year's draft. Today, we profile <b> St. Benedict's Prep (N.J.)</b> shooting guard <b>J.R. Smith</b>.

J.R. Smith
St. Benedict's Prep (N.J)
Shooting Guard, 6-6, 220

Strengths: Smith really improved his draft stock at this year's All-Star games. He was named co-MVP of the McDonald's All-American game with Dwight Howard after he scored a game-high 25 points while also dishing out five assists and grabbing four rebounds. Smith was at his best from international waters as he knocked down 5-of-11 shots from 3-point land. But Smith's long-range shooting ability isn't the only aspect of his game that has scouts going gaga. He's one of the most exciting open court players in this draft class as he uses his 44-inch vertical leap to finish with the best of them. He averaged 23.5 points and 5.6 rebounds per game as a senior. Smith already has an NBA body and there's some talk he could be the most prepared for the pros out of all the high school prospects.

Weaknesses: Smith still has to learn the nuances of playing shooting guard in the pros. While he has great shooting range, he needs to develop a mid-range jumper and improve his shot selection if he wants to excel at the next level. His ball handling needs work, particularly at creating his shot off the dribble. Smith also needs to work on his defense, but he can definitely turn into a top defender considering his physical frame and his natural athleticism.

The Lowdown: Smith committed to North Carolina and was considered one of the jewels of the Tar Heels' recruiting class. However, he has hired an agent and can't withdraw his name from the draft. He's been compared to Vince Carter due to his athleticism and long-range shooting skills. While Smith has a lot of work to do to get to Carter's level, there's no reason he can't be a future All-Star if he continues to refine his game. It's because of this upside why most people don't see Smith lasting past the Top 20 of the draft.

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