Jabari Smith Jr. is ranked fifth among prospects on my big board of 2022 NBA Draft after delivering impressive stats and amazing highlights in his rookie season at Auburn. The avid college hoop fan has been eyeing Smith all season, who may have the cleanest jump shot in the draft despite being 6ft 10in! Read the rest of this article where I will go into more detail about Smith’s strengths and weaknesses and NBA player comparisons.
Intelligence report by Jabari Smith Jr.
Jabari Smith Jr. helped the ultra-talented Auburn Tigers to a 28-6 record and 2nd seed in the NCAA Tournament with his smooth jump shot, all-around defense and aggressive rebounding. For his age, Smith’s combination of age, size, strength, athleticism, defense and shooting makes him a sure-fire NBA starter and potential All-Star in the future.
Weight: 220 pounds
Job title: PF
Strengths: Smith may be the top shooter in the draft, and the numbers certainly back that up. In his freshman year, he shot 42% from three, which is inexplicably impressive for a power forward. Smith has translatable marksmanship skills and has no problem throwing punches from anywhere on the floor with or without a hand in front of his face. His hard throw is considered elite as he is only 18 years old (19 on draft night). Smith’s size is also unique as he is 6’10” tall and has amazing athleticism and functional strength. In addition, he had eye-popping moments as an Auburn guard and could defend 3 to 5 at the NBA level after years of experience.
Weak sides: Smith’s uneasy shooting ability has masked many of his weaknesses this season, including his ability to separate from defenders and really get creative on dribble. In isolated situations, Smith can dribble a dribble or two and pull up defenders, but hasn’t proven effective at passing the ball to the deck. His lack of dribbling prowess could limit his scoring lead to becoming a minor scorer.
Jabari Smith Jr stats
Jabari Smith Jr. NBA Draft Ranking, Team Eligibility, Touchdown Place
Draft Rating: 5
Suitable for team: Since Smith is not in high demand on offense, he can fit in well with most, if not all, teams. Other players in this draft, such as Jayden Ivey, Shaedon Sharp, and Paolo Bankero, have fewer “perfect matches” due to the nature of their game; however, Smith could indeed fit in well with any team. Orlando needs a top scorer, and I’m not sure if this role suits Smith in terms of predictability, so he’d better land in Oklahoma City, Houston, or Sacramento.
Landing place: Jabari Smith was considered the No. 1 draft pick in the class of 2022 for much of the college basketball season. However, there are a lot of guys in this year’s draft who have proven themselves to be high-level franchise-changing players, and a strong team could end up outweighing the best available when it’s the team’s turn to draft. I could see Smith go from first to fourth, but it’s almost impossible for him to fall any further.
Jabari Smith Jr. NBA Comparison: Jaren Jackson Jr.
One of the players mentioned as Jabari Smith Jr.’s companion is Kevin Durant. This comparison doesn’t make much sense to me. Kevin Durant has demonstrated fluidity with the ball in his hand after two or three college dribbles and many other defensive skills. However, Smith claims to be an elite trapper, capable of a half-court dribbling or two to clear some space and shoot through defenders or drive past defenders closing in for a direct hit. Any idea that Smith can act as a take-and-go player or a primary or secondary ball carrier is erroneous. However, Smith does have a lot of Jaren Jackson Jr. in his game, and it serves as a much more realistic and accurate comparison. They are both tall, long shooters with strong physiques. In addition, they hit the ball at a high level and know how to score. Smith will be the more perimeter-focused Jackson at the NBA level and should be a great secondary scorer for many years to come.
Jabari Smith Jr Highlights
Below is an embedded highlight reel from Jabari Smith Jr.’s first year at Auburn’s Box and One, which was filled with many highlights and amazing moments. Note his perfect shooting technique, lower body strength and functional athleticism in these moments; he should be an NBA starter for a very long time.