Back on Friday, Kevin Zimmerman of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM wrote that the Phoenix Suns were being patient with rookie forward Jalen Smith, the No. 10 pick of the 2020 NBA Draft.
It appears that patience involves relegating the 20-year-old to the developmental league.
The Associated Press (h/t ESPN) reported on Monday that the Suns have assigned Smith to the NBA’s G League. It’s hardly surprising news, as Smith has played in just eight games and hasn’t made much of an impression while on the court. According to ESPN stats, he has averaged 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds per game, and he recorded a player efficiency rating of 7.77.
Smith will report to the Agua Caliente Clippers, the Los Angeles Clippers’ affiliate. The G League is operating out of a secure bubble site at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
“He’s a diligent worker,” head coach Monty Williams said of Smith last week. “I don’t think any young player understands how hard you have to work to be a good player in this league. He embraced that part, which we’re really pleased with. He doesn’t miss days to get work in.”
Williams continued: “It’s all IQ and understanding how this game is played, ’cause you know your ability is there, but now you have to embrace a program and comprehend so much that’s being thrown at you while still playing your game. We just feel like right now if he can pick up some of the vernacular, the nuances of certain situations, it’s going to help him get on the floor because you have to understand all that stuff as a young player.”
Phoenix has won six consecutive games and sits at 17-9 overall.