Jabari Smith Jr. explains potential on-court fit with Rockets

Jabari Smith Jr. was highly touted entering the NBA draft for his versatility, and the third overall pick believes that will help him immediately this season with the Houston Rockets.

Smith was an All-American last season at Auburn and a standout on both sides of the ball. He averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, two assists, 1.1 steals and one block on 42% shooting from 3-point range while setting the freshman program records for points (576) and 3-pointers (79).

The Rockets return much of the same roster as last season, but opted to trade Christian Wood to the Dallas Mavericks. The move projects to open up some minutes in the frontcourt for Smith as he figures to be in the starting lineup at the beginning of the season.

He detailed his potential on-court fit ahead of the preseason.

I feel like I fit right in with my defense and my versatility. I feel like with me being able to play the five and four, I feel like I’ll be able to help with spacing and adding that spark on offense. Overall, my will to win will help us tremendously.

Smith showed a bit why the Rockets took him third in the Las Vegas Summer League, averaging 14.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks. He produced two double-doubles, and also had a pair of 19-point efforts throughout his stay in the desert.

The 19-year-old struggled some to shoot, converting on 25.9% from beyond the arc. However, he feels as though he has improved since then and is confident his strong shooting numbers in college will show throughout the season.

Just learning the offense, learning where to get my shots from, learning when to attack and learning where to be on defense. Getting in the weight room and getting stronger. I feel like I’m a whole different player, honestly. I’m just working on the weaknesses of my game and finding my strengths that will ultimately help this team.

With Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr., Alperen Sengun and others in the mix, Smith gives the Rockets another young player to build around. He projects to have a bright future in Houston as the organization is excited about his potential.

Houston begins its preseason schedule on Oct. 2.


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Story originally appeared on Rookie Wire