Jabari Smith Jr. talks Summer League, rookie season, goals for next season

2023 NBA Summer League - Detroit Pistons v Houston Rockets
2023 NBA Summer League - Detroit Pistons v Houston Rockets / Ethan Miller/GettyImages
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Smith's thoughts on newly-hired Rockets coach Ime Udoka

"I got excited immediately with the hire. Just off his demeanor and what people say about him. He was in the Finals- that's an accomplishment itself. And seeing the Celtics play and their playstyle, you can only get excited about that.

Seeing how excited he was, that uplifted us alot. He came excited and said just play defense and have fun. All of that. Play defense, play hard, and play together. That was what he preached the most. Play the right way.

As far as using me, we haven't talked about it much but I can tell based on what we've worked on that he's going to put me in different situations that I wasn't in last year. I'm excited about it."

Jabari talks Rockets' free agent additions

"I'm used to listening to people older than me and taking gems from them and latching on to them, because that's how I was as a kid. Being in the gym with Lou Williams and older players around the city. I would want to listen to them. Why wouldn't you?

Bringing in vets like Fred and Dillon and Jeff is going to be helpful, just because they've seen so much. Those guys have been to the Finals and have seen things that I haven't seen. Knowing how to get there and knowing what it takes. I'm just excited to pick their brain."

Jabari's goals for 2023-24

"Just be the most consistent everyday guy that I can be. Go in to every game with the same mentality. Don't change.

Just impact winning. That's my biggest thing. Whether it's averaging 10 points or averaging 20, I just want to affect winning. I definitely want to strive to win Most Improved Player. I've been working so hard this summer, why wouldn't I try to go get that?

If I have that success, I know our team will have that success. Making the playoffs, play-in, or whatever. Just being in the postseason. That's my goal, ultimately. "