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Jabari Smith Jr. at center is the Houston Rockets' lineup 'Locksmith'

N.B. Lindberg
Utah Jazz v Houston Rockets
Utah Jazz v Houston Rockets / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages
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Jabari Smith Jr. adds new meaning to “The Locksmith” 

In Summer League, Jabari Smith Jr. put his all-encompassing defensive abilities on display and earned the incredibly inspiring nickname “The Locksmith.” Get it? He can lock down on defense, and his last name is Smith. As far as NBA nicknames go, it’s about as creative as they get, but perhaps the nickname is also a double entendre. 

Locksmiths are masters of locks. They can build, replace, and pick any lock under the sun, at least, that’s how every heist film tells it. While you shouldn’t call Jabari Smith Jr. if you lock yourself out of your home, the Rockets can call on him to unlock any lineup they require. 

The schematic versatility Smith’s game presents is awe-inspiring as he combines the three most coveted traits from a modern frontcourt player. He can space the floor, defend the perimeter, and defend the paint. Simply possessing two of these skills makes a frontcourt player game-changing, and he adds the potential to slide over to the wing in certain matchups. 

In theory, Smith being able to play center, power forward, and small forward unlocks a whole new world of lineups for the Rockets to explore. He’s “The Locksmith,” alright, the locksmith of lineups.

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