The Houston Rockets select Jabari Smith Jr with the 3rd pick in the 2022 NBA Draft

N.B. Lindberg
2022 NBA Draft
2022 NBA Draft / Arturo Holmes/GettyImages

The Houston Rockets have selected Jabari Smith Jr with the third pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Mock drafts had Smith going first overall to the Orlando Magic, but the Magic shocked the NBA world when they selected Paolo Banchero first overall. The Rockets were mocked to select Banchero and had expressed their desire to select him.

Smith is a 6'10 forward from Auburn University and is considered the best shooter in the draft. He shot 42% from 3-point range and 79.9% on free throws. He is viewed as a mulit-positional defender that can provide weakside rim protection and defend the perimeter.

His high release and shot-making have garnered him comps to Kevin Durant, although his dribbling ability and finishing around the rim still need to develop substantially.

His finishing around the rim was well below the NCAA average, and will be a point of emphasis in his development. However, he will likely be one of the Rockets best 3-point shooters next season, and is a perfect fit next to Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun.

There remains some speculation that a trade may be facilitated between the two franchises to send Smith to Orlando and Banchero to Houston. However, there is no reporting that a trade is in the works.

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