Jabari Smith Jr. Has Arrived
The 2022 NBA Draft is looking better and better by the day with Paolo Banchero being a superstar in the making in Orlando, Jalen Williams starting to showcase more of his skills in Oklahoma City (Chet Holmgren will hopefully be back fully healthy with him next season), Jaden Ivey finally getting more responsibility in Detroit, Keegan Murray getting more and more confidence in Sacramento, and now Jabari Smith Jr. really starting to come on in Houston. Going into tonight's game vs. the Pelicans, the #3 overall pick in June's Draft had been averaging 21.4 points and 9.4 rebounds over his last five games. I was so confident in his abilities based on recent trending and his previous performances against the Pels of 15 and 13 rebounds that I made his OVER 7.5 rebounds my prop of the month on Friday.
Smith had 6 boards in the first half and after an early rebound in the 3rd Quarter, sat for an astonishing 13 minutes. He came back in late in the 4th to win the prop of the month, but it was something he did later that really put his stamp on this game. The Rockets made a furious comeback in the 4th Quarter from a double digit deficit and with Houston trailing by one with just a few seconds left in the game, they went to the rookie.
Ice water in his veins! Smith Jr. was cool, calm and collected as he hit the shot to give Houston the win. He's clearly gaining a ton of confidence and no matter what happens to the Rockets in the Draft Lottery, their arrow is firmly pointed up for next season.