Jabari Smith Draft Scouting Report: Pro Comparison, Updated Rockets Roster

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 24, 2022

Auburn forward Jabari Smith plays against Jacksonville State during the first half of a college basketball game in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday, March 18, 2022, in Greenville, S.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
AP Photo/Chris Carlson

The Houston Rockets' rebuild got a little brighter with the addition of Auburn star Jabari Smith, who was selected with the No. 3 pick in the 2022 NBA draft on Thursday.

Bleacher Report Draft Expert Jonathan Wasserman's Scouting Report

Player: Jabari Smith

Position: PF

Height: 6'10"

Pro Comparison: Jaren Jackson Jr.

Scouting Report: Smith has a case as the best freshman shooting big of all time. While he could improve when playing through contact, it might not matter much thanks to his ability to get his jumper off from anywhere and hit pull-ups, fallaways and quick-release threes.

Jabari Smith (rookie scale contract)

John Wall, PG: $42.8M (2023)

Eric Gordon, SG: $18.9M (2024)

Jalen Green, SG: $10.2M (2025)

David Nwaba, SG: $5M (2025)

Alperen Sengun, C: $3.9M (2025)

Boban Marjanovic, C: $3.5M (2023)

Trey Burke, G: $3.2M (2023)

Sterling Brown, SG: $3M (2023)

Usman Garuba, PF: $3M (2025)

Josh Christopher, SG: $2.9M (2025)

Garrison Mathews, SG: $2.1M (2025)

Kevin Porter Jr., SG: $2M (2023)

Marquese Chriss, SF: $1.6M (2023)

Daishen Nix, PG: $1.5M (2025)

Jae'Sean Tate, SF: $1.5M (2023, Team Option)

Kenyon Martin Jr., SF: $1.4M (2024)

Dennis Schroder, PG: UFA

Bruno Fernando, PF: RFA

Anthony Lamb, SF: RFA

Trevelin Queen, SG: RFA

As the seventh-best player in 247Sports' composite rankings for the 2021 recruiting class, Smith had plenty of hype behind him before he joined the Tigers.

His stock proceeded to soar over an excellent freshman season. In 34 games, the 6'10" forward averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game while shooting 42.0 percent from beyond the arc.

In addition to being a consensus second-team All-American, Smith was honored with the Wayman Tisdale Award as men's college basketball's top freshman.

Between his floor-spacing and ability to guard multiple positions, Smith fits the archetype for what NBA teams covet in bigger forwards. Rockets fans have reason to celebrate his impending arrival.

The team is still in the early stages of a rebuild after going 17-55 in 2020-21 and 20-62 in 2021-22, but it has two building blocks in Smith and Jalen Green, who was the No. 2 pick of the 2021 draft.

If they each live up to expectations, Houston could be a contender in the near future.