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3 bold predictions for Jabari Smith in his rookie season with the Houston Rockets

Jabari Smith, Rockets, 2022 NBA Draft, Jabari Smith Rockets predictions

Jabari Smith Jr. was expected by many to be selected No. 1 overall by the Orlando Magic. However, the Orlando Magic bamboozled everybody and went with Paolo Banchero.

The Oklahoma City Thunder stayed with their guy Chet Holmgren at No. 2, leaving Jabari Smith to end up with the Houston Rockets with the third pick.

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Smith is one of the most dynamic players in the draft and will be an elite piece for Houston. They drafted Jalen Green at second overall a year ago, who looks to be a talented scorer. Smith will fit well alongside him, as they will be the foundational pieces for the Rockets.

He had a quality campaign at Auburn, averaging 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds. Smith shot 42.9 percent from the field and 42 percent from 3-point range.

The sharpshooting power forward will make an immediate impact for Houston. Many draft experts had him ranked as the top player in the draft class. That shows how talented he is, as Holmgren and Banchero are also highly rated prospects.

They all have the talent to have been the No. 1 overall pick.

With that said, here are three bold predictions for Jabari Smith in his rookie season with the Houston Rockets.

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Jabari Smith Bold Rockets Predictions

3. Smith finishes top three in scoring for Houston

While Houston is a rebuilding team, they have some solid young players. Green will grow and become a more dynamic scorer this year, and Kevin Porter Jr. is another scoring guard.

However, with Christian Wood off to the Dallas Mavericks, the Rockets will need to rely upon another scorer. This is where Jabari Smith comes in, as the third overall pick has a great skill set.

Smith can shoot the lights out and take advantage of mismatches in the post. His size at 6-foot-10 and 220 pounds with a 7-foot-1 wingspan will be a nightmare to defend. The Rockets will need someone to step up in the scoring department, and Smith has the tools to do so in his rookie campaign.

2. Smith shoots over 38 percent from 3

Although Jabari Smith has many tools in his game, his shooting touch at his size is what people gravitate toward. Smith shot hyper-efficient from 3-point range in college, but it’s harder to shoot over 40 percent from deep at the NBA level.

The NBA has better defenses, and the 3-point line is further back than it is in college. However, Smith will get plenty of good looks, and his size allows him to rise up over defenders.

He will be lethal in pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop situations. Green and Smith will be a tough combo to stop in this situation, as Green can get downhill quickly. This can allow Smith to get an open look at the rim or from downtown.

While he may not shoot over 40 percent right away, Smith should be amongst the efficient 3-point bigs in the NBA.

1. Smith wins Rookie of the Year

While Jabari Smith will be one of the favorites to win the Rookie of the Year Award, it won’t be easy. This is a talented draft class, especially up top.

However, Smith has perhaps the best situation to enter to win the award. The Rockets needed a big, and Smith will have every opportunity to thrive. He has good young guards around him in Porter and Green, who will help him maximize his game.

It may not have been expected going into the draft, but the Rockets got Smith. He will be an elite player for them for years to come.