LAS VEGAS — Zhaire Smith will face the team that immediately shipped him to the 76ers after drafting him.
And Mikal Bridges will face the team that shipped him to Phoenix after drafting him.
The Sixers will play the Suns in the first round of the NBA Summer League playoffs at 6:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, three weeks to the day of the much-publicized draft-night trade. On June 21, the Sixers selected Bridges, the Villanova and Great Valley High School grad, with the No. 10 pick. Thirty-eight minutes later, they sent him to the Suns, who picked 16th, for Smith and the Miami Heat’s 2021 unprotected first-round pick. The Sixers were long interested in Smith, just not at the No. 10 spot.
Smith, 19, is making the transition from power forward to shooting guard this summer. He has shown athleticism and stellar defense in the tournament. However, as expected, the former Texas Tech standout has been inconsistent on offense in his new role.
He averaged 8.3 points on 37 percent shooting in the Sixers’ three preliminary games. Smith also averaged 2.7 assists and 1.7 steals.
Bridges, 21, has averaged 6.3 points on 54 percent shooting to go with 3.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals.
The Suns are headlined by first overall pick Deandre Ayton. The 7-foot-1, 260-pound center averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds in Phoenix’s three preliminary games.
Sixers post players Jonah Bolden (215 pounds) and Cameron Oliver (225) could have their hands full trying to contain Ayton.
Philly will look for swingman Furkan Korkmaz to reclaim his shooting touch The second-year player had a game-high 40 points and hit 8 of 12 three-pointers in Friday’s loss to the Boston Celtics. He was held to four points and one point in the following two games. He shot 1 for 18 in those two games, missing all 12 of his three-point attempts.
The winner of Thursday’s game will face the winner of the Spurs-Bucks first-rounder in Saturday’s 8:30 p.m. second-round game. The loser of Thursday’s contest will face Spurs-Bucks loser in a 6:30 p.m. Friday consolation game.