LeBron James has taken another shot at Phil Jackson.
Since then Smith has looked like far better pick — Smith is averaging 14.2 points per game to Ntilikina’s 4.7, Smith has the ball in his hands and has been the more efficient shooter (although neither is efficient), and Smith has looked like a potential future star while Ntilikina has looked like a project.
After his Cavaliers beat the Mavericks, LeBron fired a shot at Jackson talking about Smith, via the Dallas Morning News’ Brad Townsend.
“The Knicks passed on a really good on. Dallas got the diamond in the rough. He should be a Knick. That’s going to make some headlines, but he should be a Knick. … He’s an unbelievable talent. Athleticism. He’s very poised to be his age. Can shoot the ball, can penetrate. He’s only going to get better and better with the opportunities that he’s given here to play. Dallas got a good one.”
There were plenty of scouts and others who thought Smith fell too far down the board draft night, but Jackson and others were high on the potential of Ntilikina. That said, he was always a project, a gut that was more about five years from now than this season.
LeBron is right. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t savoring a shot at Jackson.