Ceiling: Kevin Durant
Floor: Dorian Finney-Smith
Jabari Smith is another intriguing forward in the 2022 draft. Measuring at 6’10 and 210 pounds, Smith is well sized for his position at the power forward spot. A major upside for Smith is his shooting, he averaged 17 points and 7 rebounds per game on 43-42-80 splits. Smith was the best scorer on an Auburn team plagued by selfish guards. Smith is a plus defender and rebounder, and most importantly a lights-out three point shooter. He is more athletic than advertised with multiple poster dunks across his highlight tape. There are not many cons to Smith’s game which is why he finished the regular season at the top of most draft boards. Smith sadly went missing during Auburn’s tournament run with only 10 points on three of 16 shooting in Auburn’s Round of 32 game against Miami. Though this isn’t world changing, it is important to note his lack of production in his team’s most important game of the season.
The main issues that lie with Jabari Smith are overall efficiency inside the three-point line as well as his ball handling. Smith looked visibly uncomfortable handling the ball throughout the season, making it more difficult to get him the ball when Auburn needed a basket. This is something that can be improved and with that improvement he can easily be the first option on a struggling NBA team. The other main issue is his efficiency inside the arc, this comes purely down to shot selection, very often he took highly contested mid-range jumpers leading to him shooting 43% from the field overall, well below what he should be with his scoring prowess.
NBA Best Fit
Jabari Smith would be a perfect fit for the Oklahoma City Thunder who have recently drafted their backcourt in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. Smith would fit very well with the young and rebuilding core of the Thunder, either as a first or second option behind SGA. The Thunder also have the second pick, which is where I have Smith on my mock draft. Similar to Chet and Paolo, Smith is interchangeable within the top 3 teams.