Rockets land Jabari Smith with 3rd overall pick
The Houston Rockets have selected Auburn forward Jabari Smith with the No. 3 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.
Smith fell to the third spot after reportedly being projected to go No. 1 to the Orlando Magic hours earlier. He'll join a rebuilding Rockets team that added guard Jalen Green with the second overall pick in 2021.
After sitting outside the top five high school recruits entering the 2021-22 college basketball season, Smith flashed immense potential as a high-level scorer and defender at a long 6-foot-10. He shot a sparkling 42% on over five 3-point attempts per game at Auburn while also averaging over a block and a steal per contest.
As a result of his strong campaign, Smith took home the USBWA Freshman of the Year award, made first-team All-SEC, and was on the late-season ballot for the Wooden Award. He also led the Tigers to their highest seed in the NCAA Tournament in over 20 years.
The 19-year-old is a rare prospect that has both a high floor and a high ceiling. At his peak, Smith's shooting ability and size could put him in the echelon of Kevin Durant or Brandon Ingram as an All-Star-level wing scorer. However, even if his offensive playmaking doesn't reach that level, he can still play a valuable role as a starter who can defend multiple positions and knock down open shots.
College experience: Freshman
Weight: 220 lbs
Max vertical: N/A
- Well-above average size and length for a wing player
- Knockdown shooter from the 3-point line
- Versatile defender who can guard positions 2-through-5 with ease
- Tough shotmaker with defenders in his face due to a high release point
- Fluid, coordinated athlete with the occasional explosive burst
- One of the youngest players selected at the top of the draft
- Doesn't always make great decisions with shot selection
- Can struggle to generate plays for others off the dribble
- Needs to finish better at the rim - shot 43.5% from 2-point range
- Runs the risk of being a tweener as an oversized wing who lacks the strength of a big
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