3 - Nick Smith

6-5, 185 Point Guard/Shooting Guard
Arkansas Freshman
04/18/04 (20.1 yrs)
Jacksonville, AR
High School
North Little Rock
Team Site Profile
Jump Shot
NBA Ready
Ball Handling
92 Overall:

NBA Comparison: Jamal Crawford

Strengths: Smith Jr is a 6’5 185 lb combo guard prospect with very good length and nice athleticism for the NBA level … Really quick and speedy, and has the frame to add muscle … Likes to score the ball (12.5 ppg as a Fr.) and is pretty aggressive doing so, especially when it comes to slashing or hitting shots off the dribble … Can put up points in chunks at his best (5 20 point games in 17 games played) and is widely viewed as a ‘microwave’ scoring threat … Won’t have many problems breaking down the defense; has a combination of good ball-handling ability and a quick 1st step that gives him intriguing potential as a shot creator … Comfortable in the mid-range; can pressure defenders with his ability to stop on a dime and stick pull-up jumpers … Makes good use of runners and floaters in the lane as well … Occasionally makes some flashy lay-ins at the rim with his craftiness and touch … Not afraid to shoot from long range either, and showed some flashes from distance this season (1.4 made 3s game on over 4 attempts) … Can play on or off the ball and generally did a nice job of being active as a cutter or looking for ways to get open for shots when he was on the wing … Has all the tools to be an effective defender in the backcourt, and played with good energy in a demanding defensive system at Arkansas … Has strong on-ball defensive potential, but also has enough quickness and length to deflect passes and become more of a threat as a ball thief … Would fit well in an up-tempo offensive system with his speed and aggressive approach; has good projections as a open court player …

Weaknesses: Not very physical and a bit light in the britches at the moment; needs to add more muscle to his frame … Can get steamrolled on the ball as a defender more than you’d like to see and really struggled as a finisher offensively (39.6 FG% inside the arc) … Shot selection needs improvement (37.6 FG%); often takes low percentage shots in the mid-range area when he would be better served moving the ball or attacking the rim … Pretty inconsistent 3-point shooter (33.8 3FG%), doesn’t handle contests that well right now and will often change his release with a hand in his face … Listed as a combo guard, but isn’t a natural playmaker for others (1.7 apg) … When he’s on ball he mostly only passes as a last resort after the defense collapses on him … Middling feel for the game and basketball IQ at this stage, will force action and try to make plays that aren’t there … Doesn’t have much impact on games outside of scoring; can be hard to justify playing him when his shots aren’t falling … Won’t contribute much on the glass and is a poor rebounder even for a backcourt player (1.6 rpg) … Pressed on but never quite gained his rhythm after missing a critical chunk of the season dealing with a knee injury …

Overall: Nick Smith Jr was a ballyhooed prospect out of HS and was ranked as high as the #1 recruit in the 2022 Class, and was a main reason Arkansas was considered a preseason national title favorite with their highly regarded recruiting class … Injuries took their toll on Smith Jr and Arkansas as a whole, as he missed about 2 months of action dealing with a knee injury and Arkansas struggled a bit during the SEC schedule without him but eventually made it to the Sweet 16 … He showed the shot-making ability, burst and handle that made him a projected top 10 pick before the season in his 17 games played, as well as some potential on the defensive end given his length, intensity and quickness … There is something to be said about his potential as an instant offense threat … He wasn’t very efficient, needs to get stronger and more physical getting all the way to the bucket (which ties in with his ability to improve his efficiency) as well as being more productive outside of his scoring, but he had a limited sample size and could benefit from having more continuity and rhythm if his knee problems are behind him … He may have some naysayers in the top half of the draft but his potential is too great for him to not hear his name sooner than later in the 1st round of the 2023 Draft …

Jorrye Nixon 4/17/23

Strengths: 6’5 combo guard … Good size, length, and versatility for position. Can play on or off the ball … Hits shots off the dribble and just needs a little bit of space to get shot off. Quick release. Very dangerous midrange scorer with a very effective floater … Averaged 17.6 points per game on 49.2% FG% over the Nike EYBL in 2021 … Good ball-handler, creates offense, and gets where he wants with his dribble, using either hand. Changes speed well with the ball and operates well in traffic. Stays under control when picking up speed … Sees the floor well, alert, and good passing ability. Knows his cross-court options as a passer. Good touch on lob passes … Defends well on and off the ball. Sits and consistently hounds the ball-handler. Fights over screens …

Weaknesses: Slight frame and can get stronger. Finishing at the rim at higher levels may be an obstacle … Good athlete and smooth but isn’t overly explosive … Although he shoots well from midrange and shot a respectable 37.5% 3PT% on 4.8 3PT attempts per game over the Nike EYBL, he can improve 3PT shooting consistency … Can be too content for midrange shots/floaters rather than getting to the rim … Although rebounding isn’t a heavy role for a guard, he doesn’t stand out in that area and his 3.5 rebounds per game over the Nike EYBL in 2021 is below other guards of his caliber. Has the tools and gifts to improve in that area …

Outlook: Incoming Arkansas freshman … 2022 McDonald’s All-American … MVP of the 2022 Jordan Brand Classic with 27 points (7-15 FG, 5-7 3PT, 8-8 FT) … Scored 10 points in the 2022 Nike Hoop Summit … 2022 Naismith High School Player of the Year Finalist …

Evan Tomes 7/16/22