Russ Smith, like Marshall Henderson, can score a lot. And he does so, a lot.
Lightning quick and fearless about contact, Smith would seem a prime candidate to transcend his physical limitations and succeed at the pro level. And he can, if he can become as creative a distributor as he is a scorer.
There are few NBA players today listed at 6'0" and 165 pounds, and those who are don't play any position aside from point guard. Smith has never had to create for others with steady point guard Peyton Siva next to him. With Siva gone, Smith may get more chances to play on the ball as a means to take pressure off new points Chris Jones and Terry Rozier.
A decent 21 percent assist rate shows that Smith can find his teammates when he's motivated, but the fact that he finished fifth in America in field-goal attempts demonstrates how rarely that motivation strikes him.
Smith's shot selection is often questionable. Hoop-Math points out that he took more two-point jumpers than either rim attempts or threes, despite sinking only 30 percent of those mid-range efforts. NBA coaches will staple him to the bench for such performances.
Again, Smith and Henderson have similar dilemmas. Smith, though, seems more likely to follow the route of Rockets reserve Patrick Beverley, who learned the point guard position in Europe before coming to the NBA. While Henderson is much more likely to give the NBA the finger and keep being a conscience-free scorer, Smith should be a lot more receptive to coaching.
We may see Russ Smith in the NBA, but it may not be immediate.