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‘I can do so much’: Jabari Smith Jr. explains why he should be the No. 1 pick

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ORLANDO, Fla. — In front of the top Orlando Magic executives, and even some players themselves, Jabari Smith Jr. worked to show why he should be the No. 1 overall pick on June 23.

Smith on Thursday participated in his first workout ahead of the NBA draft, a closed session that only featured the former Auburn forward. The meeting with the Magic may have been his first, but it could have been the most important one of the process.

The 19-year-old is widely considered one of three players in heavy consideration to hear their name called first on draft night. Gonzaga center Chet Holmgren is also in the conversation, as is Duke forward Paolo Banchero.

Smith firmly believes he should be the first player selected, though.

I feel like I can come in right away and just make an instant impact to any team with my shooting ability and my ability to play defense — all of it. My ability to guard multiple positions, I feel like, separates me from a lot of people.

Smith, who was voted a consensus All-American, averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, two assists, 1.1 steals and one blocked shot on 42% shooting from 3-point range last season. He set the Auburn single-season freshman record for points (576) and 3-pointers (79).

The possibility of becoming the top pick is something Smith is ready for.

He understands the pressure that comes with being the first player chosen and believes he has all of the tools in his corner to best handle it. He cited his father, Jabari Smith, who played in the NBA for four seasons, as a key person in his camp.

“He has given me a lot of advice, basically everything I know,” Smith said. “He is just always telling me to have fun with it and give it my all. Basketball is going to be taken away from me sooner than later so just have fun with it and enjoy it.”

Smith, who will also work out with the Oklahoma City Thunder, sees a good fit with the Magic. He watched the NBA often this season and caught Orlando on a couple of occasions. Smith likes the chemistry among the Magic players — on and off of the court.

With Smith on the practice court at Amway Center, several Magic players were on hand to catch a glimpse at their possible new teammate, including Cole Anthony, Jonathan Isaac, Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner.

That left Smith with a great lasting impression as he departs Orlando.

“It means a lot,” Smith said. “Teams usually don’t have half of their team still at home around this time so that means something. They are real hungry and real close, it seems like. You see they’re trying to work and get to that next level.”

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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