Jabari Smith might not have been the most exciting rookie on the Rockets or throughout Summer League, but the preseason and upcoming regular season will show that the Rockets still got the best option.
The Rockets didn't have much of a choice when they selected Auburn forward Jabari Smith in the 2022 NBA Draft, and that is fine by us.
Even if guys like Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren were able to look good during the relatively-meaningless games played during the Summer League, Smith is still going to be the best long-term fit for the Rockets and what they are trying to build.
For what it's worth, the only part of Smith's game that didn't live up to billing during our limited window into his time with the Rockets was his offense. Smith struggled to create shots during a time that is notoriously-hard for guys that don't create their own shots well. No one should be surprised, yet Smith still found his way to making an impact offensively.
The defense end of the court was where we saw exactly what we needed to.
While the modern NBA still values the ability to score over the ability to play defense, much like every other professional sport, the Rockets have to be better on defense than they were throughout the majority of the 2021 season. Jabari Smith is going to change that for the better.
It takes time to get guys up to speed. Even if Smith was a late-bloomer, his skillset is exactly what the Rockets needed to pair with their current young pieces of the future, and Smith brings that added level on defense that is hopefully going to catalyze a positive change for the future that will bring Houston out of the depths on the defensive end.
The Rockets aren't going to regret getting Jabari Smith. It is silly to pretend otherwise.
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