Player Recaps: Javonte Smart

By Nick Robinson | April 22, 2022

This nine-part series takes an extensive look at Skyforce players throughout the 2021-22 season. We will highlight season and career highs, as well as the impact each player made on the court. First, we start with Miami HEAT two-way player Javonte Smart. 

Smart bet on himself ahead of the 2021 NBA Draft when he left LSU early. Despite not getting drafted, it’s been an eventful 2021-22 season filled with highs and lows.

His hard work and determination shined throughout the season, as he was one of two players to earn multiple NBA Call-Ups this season for the Skyforce.

The gamble started when he joined the Miami HEAT for the 2021 Summer League, where he appeared in four games and averaged 5.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists per 19.3 minutes.

That potential took him one step further. He participated in training camp and preseason with the HEAT, where he upped his average to 8.8 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per 18.1 minutes in five appearances.

He reeled off two games of 15-plus points in his last three games of the preseason, as well.

On October 26, ahead of Skyforce training camp, Smart was allocated to Sioux Falls as a part of being one of four affiliate players from Miami.

Smart appeared in 14 games for the Skyforce in the Showcase Cup, where he averaged 14.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists.

As his shooting continued to rise, he scored a combined 50 points on 16-38 FGA, while grabbing 15 rebounds in his last two games. That was enough for the Milwaukee Bucks to offer him a two-way contract on November 29.

He appeared in 13 games (one start) for the Bucks, where he averaged 2.4 points, 1.5 assists and 1.1 assists per 12.3 minutes a game. The Bucks ended his two-way deal on January 13, right as the Skyforce was starting the regular season.

It was nonstop for Smart, as when he returned from NBA action, the Force saw six games in nine days. He scored in double figures in five of those six games, but reached 20 points just once.

Then, he was able to enjoy a few days of development and work on his game. It propelled one of the best single-player monthly performances in recent memory for the Skyforce.

In nine games, he averaged 27.7 points on 48.5 percent shooting (45.7 percent from deep), 4.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists. Smart had seven-straight games of 20-plus points scored, with games of 31, 34 and 40 (career-high) sprinkled in.

Halfway through the month, on February 15, the Miami HEAT offered Smart a two-way contract.

He didn’t look back at that point.

Not to mention, he helped a 2-9 team win seven-of-10 games and enter the thick of the Western Conference playoff race as Sioux Falls headed to March. The true impact of a player shows when

Smart made it hard to match his play in March, but in 10 games he still averaged 19.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists. In four games of scoring 20-plus points in March, the Skyforce was 3-1.

As the season progressed, he was able to get better off the ball and got to the rack with a limited amount of dribbles, which is crucial to excel in the NBA.

In 25 regular season games, Smart averaged 21.1. points on 41.8 percent shooting, 4.7 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.8 steals per 36.8 minutes.

His growth didn’t stop in Sioux Falls. He was able to gain valuable experience with the Eastern Conference first seeded HEAT throughout the end of the regular season, where he appeared in four games and averaged 5.0 points on 47.1 percent shooting, 1.3 rebounds and 0.5 assists per 10.0 minutes per game.

On April 10, in Miami’s regular season finale in Orlando, Smart ripped off 20 points on 8-14 FGA (4-8 3PA) and five rebounds in 33:33 minutes of work.

Despite not being eligible for the playoffs because of his two-way contract, being able to be around a top-seeded team and practicing only helps Smart’s growth.

At just 22 years old, his potential is sky high, and he’s just scratching the surface of what he can become. Regularly, he was the first player in the gym and the last one out, which is something players like Duncan Robinson and Gabe Vincent did in their stints in Sioux Falls. That is the type of trait that gets you to stick in the NBA.

Look for Smart to continue to find his footing on offense and defense, as he’s got the potential to be in the NBA for years to come.