NBA Draft Profile: Josh Smith
Oak Hill Academy (Va.)
Small Forward, 6-9, 215
Strengths: Smith has to be a favorite to win next year's slam dunk contest — he's that athletic. With absolutely stunning hops, Smith was a human highlight reel as a senior at Oak Hill last year, averaging 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists per game. While he's a constant threat to take it to the rack on offense, Smith's leaping ability also helps him block shots from all over the floor on defense and grab loads of rebounds on both sides of the floor. Smith, who hails from the same prep school as Carmelo Anthony and Jerry Stackhouse, also has a dangerous left-handed mid-range jumper and tremendous passing skills even though he prefers to play above the rim. In addition to his scoring prowess, Smith is unselfish with the rock and has demonstrated solid passing skills.
Weaknesses: Like so many other potential lottery picks, Smith is raw. He's still learning the game and tends to rely too much on athleticism at times, which worked in high school but won't in the NBA. Although he's got good strength at the high school level, he needs to gain weight in order to deal with the physical NBA game. He has a solid mid-range shot when wide open, but he needs to add a consistent 3-pointer and learn how to create his own shot in order to become a true offensive threat. Despite his athleticism, Smith will have a hard time matching up with other small forwards or shooting guards until he works on his handle and post-up moves as well as develops a go-to move. On defense, Smith still has a lot to learn despite his shot-blocking ability.
The Lowdown: The sky is the limit for Smith, who has already signed an endorsement deal with adidas. Some scouts say that in time he could develop into a Tracy McGrady clone. At worst, Smith could end up being the second coming of Darius Miles — an extremely athletic role player who relies too much on athleticism — only with a better shot. With such intriguing upside, Smith is projected as a possible Top 10 pick and once he develops a go-to move, he could end up being the best player from this year's draft.