With the Phoenix Suns sitting out the 2021 NBA Draft with no selections, there will be one guy Monty Williams and the Suns front office will have their eyes on in particular in Summer League play: last year’s No. 10 overall selection, Jalen Smith.
Phoenix is facing front-line uncertainty with Dario Saric possibly being out next season with his ACL tear in the NBA Finals. Even though the Suns agreed to terms with JaVale McGee and brought back Frank Kaminsky in free agency, Jalen Smith can effectively make the switch between the 4 and 5 spot much like Saric.
Jalen is starting to stand out by collecting double-doubles in all three games of Summer League play, including a 21 point and 11 rebounds performance on Thursday, knocking down four shots from beyond the arc.
Smith has provided the illustration of what is required from a first-round pick in Summer League games, showing his skill set that can be transferred to NBA games going forward.
It’s raining 3’s in Vegas! 🌧️ pic.twitter.com/snLIPgeSKg— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) August 13, 2021
Phoenix Suns head coach, Monty Williams talked about Jalen’s growing pains last year playing without a Summer League due to the COVID-19 pandemic and his future learning a new position via ArizonaSports.com.
“Going right from being drafted to a training camp, but not only that, pretty much trying to learn a new position,” Williams said. “Going from a 5 and trying to learn how to play like Dario. That’s something that we’ve talked about is Jalen becoming a more athletic Dario. That’s a high goal, if you will, but we feel like with the work he’s put in with (assistant) coach (Mark) Bryant, he’s gonna get there someday.”
Jalen Smith’s athleticism and size have stood out on the floor the last three games as well as his minutes. Considering the lack of time for preparation for last season, Phoenix wants Smith to have as much of an opportunity as possible after barely playing his rookie season.