Philadelphia 76ers rookie guard Zhaire Smith hasn’t had much experience, but the Sixers could use his defensive abilities and quickness to defend the Toronto Raptors better.
Smith didn’t play significant minutes in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Saturday, with Furkan Korkmaz playing 12 minutes off the bench; Smith was likely to play around that many minutes if coach Brett Brown chose to play him as he said he would.
Brown said Smith would see minutes in Game 1 before the Sixers began their series against the Raptors. Smith was meant to absorb Mike Scott’s minutes; Scott was ruled out Friday because of a right heel contusion and plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
With the Sixers losing 108-95 in Game 1, they could have used Smith’s defense to help defend the perimeter better. Kawhi Leonard and Pascal Siakam, the Raptors’ two best players, combined for 74 points, more than the 71 points the Sixers’ starting lineup scored.