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Sixers tabbed for 4 national television games in NBA’s limited 2018-19 schedule release

When news broke that first-round pick Zhaire Smith suffered a Jones fracture in his left foot, the collective reaction was unanimous.

Not again.

Somehow, a Sixers’ first-round pick — whether their original pick or ones they traded for — has been hurt in each of the last six seasons. That just doesn’t seem possible, but here we are.

I know it’s easy to fall into this panic-mode type trap, but don’t do it, Philly. This type of thing has become more of a rite of passage than a career killer.

I liked Brett Brown’s draft-night maneuvering: He traded the more NBA-ready Mikal Bridges for more of a project in Smith and a 2021 unprotected pick that could prove to be an incredibly valuable asset. 

And that’s part of the reason this injury isn’t a catastrophe like some of the rookie injuries before it. Joel Embiid was the third overall pick who had enormous expectations. The Sixers went on to win 28 games combined in the two seasons Embiid missed. 

Before Ben Simmons suffered his Jones fracture, he was expected to team up with a finally healthy Embiid. Instead, he missed the entire season and the team won 28 games – an improvement but not great. 

Even though the Sixers had their best season since 2000-01, No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz — the version they drafted at least — was clearly missed. His ability to create shots off the dribble would’ve benefited the Sixers greatly during their playoff run.

Which brings us to Smith. He’s super athletic, has strong basketball instincts and has the potential to be an elite NBA defender. With all that said, he’s spent his basketball life as a power forward and is learning how to play guard at the highest level of competition. He also just turned 19 on June 4. 

The point is, while Smith’s ceiling is high,

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