3. Jabari Smith Jr.
Smith Jr. was the third overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, and several teams had him as the top player on their boards. The 6’10 forward is loaded with potential, and he showed flashes during his rookie campaign. Some will focus on the stats, including him shooting 40.8 percent from the field and 30.7 percent on his 3-point attempts, but there is plenty of room for the teenager to grow.
Over his final 20 games, Smith Jr. averaged 15.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 0.9 blocks in 33.9 minutes per game while shooting 47.2 percent from the field, 36.5 percent on his threes, and 78.3 percent from the free throw line. The 6’10 big man has the versatility to guard multiple positions and the potential to be a devastating stretch four.
The Houston Rockets are not trading Jabari Smith Jr., but he would have a ton of value if they put him on the block. He can pair with a bruising center and should grow into a devastating pick-and-pop option. It is all in how the team attempts to develop his game and what role they see him in.
Fans should expect Smith Jr. to take a significant leap in year two. All the late-season flashes will turn into more consistent production as he finally turns 20-years-old in May. Stay tuned to see his next evolution.