Prospect Watching: Going on Safari for Jabari Smith

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The San Antonio Spurs are looking more like a lottery team as each week passes and that means it is time for another prospect watch. This week we are going to take a look at Auburn freshman and big man Jabari Smith. The 6-foot-10, 220-pound wing has shown some nice flashes of his skill, shooting, and switchability on defense.

Smith is a potential top-5 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft thanks to the aforementioned skills as well as a few others. In the few games he’s played this season, he has looked like a clearly talented player who will succeed in the NBA. Here are some of his stats through his first four games.

  • 15.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 2.0 APG, 2.3 SPG, 1.0 BPG
  • 39.5 FG%, 42.9 3P%, 86.4 FT%
  • 119.6 ORtg, 86.2 DRtg, 26.4 PER

The young wing has not played high major competition yet, but he has looked great so far in the games he has played. He will face UConn this week so that should be a game to circle as one that could test him before conference play. His biggest asset is his ability to switch defensively pretty much across the board. He’s the perfect mix of strong and fast that lets him stay in front of guards, but not get buried by bigger guys in the post.

He has shot the ball exceptionally well to start the season, especially from deep. You can expect him to fall back down to earth at some point, but that shouldn’t take away the fact that he has a nice stroke. He looks fantastic in the mid-range on pull-ups and has the ability to face up and drive by defenders, but is not quite comfortable creating for himself out on the perimeter in the halfcourt.

Smith is a nice rebounder who chases after loose balls and doesn’t easily give up on plays. What’s encouraging is that he has a pretty nice handle for someone his size and can go coast-to-coast (if it’s a straight line for now) off grabbing a rebound. He’s one of the more intriguing prospects and would absolutely be getting more hype as a top pick if he played at Duke or UNC.

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