2 overlooked rising stars hiding in plain sight for the Rockets

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2. Jabari Smith Jr.

Jabari Smith Jr. is a strange case, as he had been penned as the top overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft in the months leading up to the event, however, once he slipped to the Houston Rockets with the third pick, many seemed to have forgotten about his talent and ability.

Perhaps it could be due to his slow start in 2022-23, as Smith averaged 11.9 points and 7 rebounds through his first 50 games. Smith was unable to throw a rock in the ocean, as he made just 35 percent of his catch-and-shoot scoring opportunities, in addition to 37 percent of his pull-ups and 39 percent of his drives.

In spite of the early struggles, Smith's hustle and two-way ability remained constantly visible. And he eventually overcame his initial struggles, averaging 15.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 0.9 blocks, 47.2 percent from the floor, 36.5 percent shooting from deep, and 78.3 percent from the charity stripe over the last 20 games, hitting tough shots and even game-winners.

Smith put everyone on notice in the Summer League, posting averages of 35.5 points, seven rebounds, four assists, 1 block, a league-leading 13.5 free throws per game, 48.8 percent shooting, 85.2 percent from the charity stripe, and 33.3 percent from behind the arc.

And more game-winning shots.

Smith is a star-level talent and his attitude and humility will help him get there too.