2022 NBA Draft mock #4: Houston Rockets: Jabari Smith Jr.
The rebuilding Rockets also figure to finish near the bottom of the standings. They are starting a young backcourt of 2021 second overall pick Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. Houston will continue to build around those two as they look to get back into contention.
There is little consensus among scouts starting at four and going all the way through the first round, so it will be an important season for all of these prospects. Some will play their way into being a top five selection, and others may knock themselves completely out of the first round.
The Rockets will be drafting for upside, and Smith Jr. is dripping with it. He is a 6’10 forward that is expanding his shooting range and has defensive potential as a rim protector and perimeter threat. Smith Jr. shoots well from the mid-range already and a strong freshman season at Auburn could push him into the top three.
The biggest question about the 18-year-old is his slender frame. Can he add some muscle to be a power forward in the NBA that can play spot minutes at the five? That plus a consistent 3-point shot could make Jabari Smith Jr. one of the best players in this class as he gives Houston a nice complement to Green and Porter Jr.