The 2023 NBA Draft order has been set and the list of eligible players is officially locked in. We’re going to take a look at the top prospects in the draft, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and provide a player comparison for how we see them developing at the next level. Here’s a look at Arkansas guard Nick Smith Jr.
Nick Smith Jr. Draft Profile
Arkansas made it to the Sweet Sixteen of the 2023 NCAA Tournament and did so on the shoulders of Smith Jr. on many occasions. The freshman guard finished third on the team in scoring with 12.5 points per game on 33.8 shooting from beyond the arc. While the numbers don’t necessarily do him justice, Smith Jr. remains one of the most valuable floor generals in the current draft class.
Standing at 6-foot-5, 185 pounds, Smith Jr. has great size for an NBA combo guard. He was held to 17 collegiate appearances because of injuries but quickly adapted to the speed of the SEC with his fiery knack for scoring and sharp ball-handling ability.
He is capable of drawing matchup advantages using his size and athleticism but also has a smooth-looking jumper to create scoring opportunities for himself in the half-court or in transition.
His injury history is far from ideal, especially with that history stemming from knee issues. Not having a ton of muscle and a skinny frame, it’s going to be a challenge for Smith Jr. to physically compete at the NBA level. He also has been known to settle for mid-range jumpers instead of finishing strong against bigger defenders at the rim.