Hornets Player Grades: Nick Smith Jr.

What grade did the Charlotte rookie receive?
Nick Smith Jr. - Charlotte Hornets
Nick Smith Jr. - Charlotte Hornets / Darren Yamashita - USA Today
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Selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 27th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, Nick Smith Jr. entered the league with few expectations. The rookie showed flashes of brilliance in Greensboro prior to his debut in Charlotte, and now holds a promising future with the Hornets.

Booked as a "developmental player" by Steve Clifford, the former HC noted that NSJ did not receive the best of starts in either college or the pros. However, Smith managed to settle in throughout the course of the season, resulting in some impressive shooting performances.

Glass Half Full

As noted by Clifford, Smith Jr. is a "good scorer" who "plays with great energy..." and "...has a bright future ahead of him." Those comments were ultimately vindicated by the rookie, who managed a 43.2% field goal percentage from behind the arc.

Smith's FG3% was good enough to lead his rookie class, further highlighting just how bright his future as a scorer in the league may be. He has cemented himself as just one of 13 players in league history to make at least 50 three point shots in their first season and displayed great versatility while doing so.

Glass Half Empty

The scoring potential of Smith is hindered by his lack of strength and questionable shot selection. While many rookies struggle tend to the physicality of the NBA, the frame and build of Smith is something that will have to be closely monitored by the Hornets staff should they wish to get the most out of him.

Charlotte has been one of the unluckiest teams in recent memory when it comes to injuries, and they will need to do their best to prevent NSJ from slipping into the proverbial trend of being listed as questionable on any given game day.

Best Moment Of The Season

Smith proved to be more than capable as shooter by nailing 5 of his 7 three-point attempts against the Denver Nuggets.

Worst Moment Of The Season

Smith gets lost in the defensive shuffle, resulting in a late close out on Patrick Beverly, who nails a three-point jump shot in his face

Overall Grade - B+

Due to his lack of playing time in college, not many were familiar with Nick Smith Jr.'s game coming into the season. However, his impressive shooting performances have slowly started to awaken the public to his potential. Leading what was a loaded rookie class in three percentage was a statement from the young guard. Apart from Brandon Miller and LaMelo Ball, it would be fair to say that NSJ carries the greatest amount of expectations on the team as they approach the 2024 season.

Drew Cook