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Houston Rockets: How Jabari Smith Jr. can win Rookie of the Year 

N.B. Lindberg
2022 NBA Rookie Portraits
2022 NBA Rookie Portraits / Gregory Shamus/GettyImages
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What are Jabari Smith Jr’s chances at the Rookie of the Year?

There’s a good chance that Jabari Smith Jr. will win the Rookie of the Year. As the third overall pick, it would be hard not to, but he has a lot of things going for him. He looks likely to be given the games and minutes needed to win the award. His role on offense should allow him to average close to 15 points per game on good shooting efficiency. His rebounding numbers and defense should pop, and if his assist numbers aren’t great, he’s a power forward. 

However, betting on Smith is also a bet against Paolo Banchero and Keegan Murray. Realistically, Murray is the biggest threat to win the award. He torched summer league and enters the NBA with a role and skill set that should see him thrive from day one. The Kings aren’t going to be competing for a title, but if he plays a crucial role in ending the longest playoff drought in NBA history, he will deserve the award. 

Banchero is likely to be the quintessential good counting stats but bad efficiency rookie. The Magic are expected to run their offense through him, and rookies generally struggle when given such a lofty role. While this can tank their efficiency and advanced metrics to a degree, it does allow them to rack up points, rebounds, assists, and highlights.  

Jabari Smith Jr. has a 20% chance to win the 2022-23 Rookie of Year. He’s the type of player that adds more to a team than shows up in the box score, and the Rookie of the Year is a notorious box score award. If Smith can start the season hot and consistently get the rock, he’ll have as good a chance as anyone. 

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