G League Ignite's Tyler Smith entering NBA draft

G League Ignite's Tyler Smith, ranked No. 21 among NBA prospects by ESPN, will enter the 2024 draft, he told ESPN on Wednesday.

Smith, a 6-foot-10 forward from Houston, averaged 13.7 points and 5.1 rebounds in 22 minutes per game in the G League this season, shooting 36% on 3-pointers.

Smith has taken a circuitous path to the NBA draft. He spent his final two seasons of high school at Overtime Elite in Atlanta before joining Ignite in Las Vegas last summer.

Smith, 19, played a compact but efficient role for Ignite, mostly being asked to stretch the floor, post-up switches, or finish around the basket as a cutter or roller, similar to what he'll be asked to do early in his career in the NBA. His positional size, scoring instincts, shot-making prowess and youth give him strong appeal for NBA teams.

"Jabari Smith, Kyle Kuzma, Michael Porter Jr; those are the types of players I see myself playing like," Smith said. "Big wings who can space the floor and also play as small-ball 5s."

The NBA elected to disband the G League Ignite program moving forward, something Smith said was surprising when it was announced toward the end of the season.

"I didn't think they were going to do that," Smith said. "The program was great. I learned a lot from the veterans on the team, especially Norris Cole and Jeremy Pargo. They were always there to tell me things I need to do to prepare for this moment."

Smith is currently preparing for the NBA draft at P3, a training facility in Santa Barbara, California, designed to help players maximize their athletic ability and decrease the risk of injury. Smith says he's focused on improving his defense to help prepare him for the transition to the NBA.

"P3 is getting me right," Smith said. "We're working on the mobility of my hips, sitting in a stance, defensive slides. Being able to guard multiple positions is going to help me a lot."

The NBA draft will be held June 26-27 in New York. The first round will be conducted at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, followed by the second round the following day at ESPN's studio in lower Manhattan.

Jonathan Givony is an NBA draft expert and the founder and co-owner of DraftExpress.com, a private scouting and analytics service used by NBA, NCAA and international teams.