It’s been a minute since the lights fell on Auburn’s historic landmark 2021-2022 basketball season, and now the fun has taken a curtain call as Jabari Smith became the highest ever NBA Draft pick in school history!
With the 3rd pick of the NBA Draft, the @HoustonRockets select @jabarismithjr!— NBA Draft (@NBADraft) June 24, 2022
2022 #NBADraft presented by State Farm
Welcome to H-Town, Jabari! pic.twitter.com/lE4tTt7hou— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) June 24, 2022
Smith was selected third overall by the Houston Rockets, after the Orlando Magic selected Paolo Banchero first overall, and the Oklahoma City Thunder chose Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren.
The Rockets finished this season with a 20-62 overall record (worst in the NBA), and Jabari Smith will join a roster of young talent, including an All-Rookie 1st Teamer from 2021-2022 in former Auburn target Jalen Green. However, Smith will provide a different sort of presence on the floor. Here’s what CBS has to say about him:
- Elite shooting threat with crisp, repeatable shot mechanics; made 42% of his 3-pointers as freshman at Auburn
- Big man with a perimeter game; can create his own shot off the bounce
- Versatile and mobile as a defender his size. Can defend the paint against bigs and capable of switching onto wings and holding his own on the perimeter
- Polished offensive weapon who needs to add dribbling and passing polish to better round out his game
- Good defender but a just-OK shot-blocker; at 6-10 his blocked-shots rate is more comparable to guards and wings than to bigs – possibly a product of playing next to the best shot-blocker in college hoops as a freshman (Walker Kessler) but also possibly a foreshadowing that his game at the next level may be as a combo forward rather than as a big
- Better-shooting Jabari Parker
With Smith going to the Rockets tonight, he continues a streak of Auburn players heading to the NBA that many of us could’ve only dreamed about before Bruce Pearl arrived on the scene. After Chuma Okeke was drafted in 2019, Isaac Okoro turned his defense into the 5th overall selection in 2020. Sharife Cooper and J.T. Thor went in 2021, and now Auburn has upped the ante with its highest-ever NBA Draft selection.