Jabari Smith Only Holding Workouts with Magic, Thunder Ahead of 2022 NBA Draft

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVJune 9, 2022

Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Auburn star Jabari Smith apparently doesn't expect to wait long to hear his name on the night of the 2022 NBA draft.

Smith worked out for the Orlando Magic, who have the No. 1 pick, on Thursday.

Orlando Magic @OrlandoMagic

Auburn’s Jabari Smith is in the building. <a href="https://t.co/8I9pSshmEz">pic.twitter.com/8I9pSshmEz</a>

The 6'10" forward indicated he has another workout on the schedule with the Oklahoma City Thunder, who will select second overall. And that's the extent of his predraft workouts for the time being.

Smith is widely considered to be one of the best players in the 2022 draft class, and it might be a bit of a surprise if he were to slip to the Houston Rockets with the third pick.

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman ranked Smith as the No. 3 player on his big board but projected him to go No. 1 to the Magic:

"This was a fitting year for the Magic to win the lottery, as they can finally add the franchise big man they've needed to pair with Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner. Smith figures to be the target for the NBA's No. 29 offense and No. 28 three-point shooting team. He'll give Orlando's guards a target to kick to or feature around the post. And though it's unclear what will happen with restricted free agent Mo Bamba, they'd pair well together because of Smith's perimeter skills and Bamba's shot-blocking."

The 19-year-old checks all of the boxes teams are looking for with a modern big. In his only year at Auburn, he averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.0 blocks. He also shot 42.9 percent from the floor and 42.0 percent from beyond the arc.

And unlike with Gonzaga star Chet Holmgren, there isn't much concern about whether Smith can absorb the kind of physicality he'll encounter at the next level.

The NBA draft is always difficult to forecast, and that can start at the very top. As good as Smith is, he's not the clear consensus favorite.

In addition to Holmgren, the Magic could plausibly take Duke star Paolo Banchero, the No. 1 player on Wasserman's board. The same goes for the Thunder if they have some combination of Smith, Holmgren or Banchero available.

But it's understandable the Rockets aren't really on Smith's radar right now given how highly he's regarded.


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