Jabari Smith’s NBA draft was a surprise to all after he was the third overall pick on Thursday night, swept away by Houston Rockets. He was expected to be the first overall pick, however, Orlando Magic switched last minute to draft Paolo Banchero.
Smith seemed to be undeterred by this and said: “Ultimately I just want to win championships and be labeled as a winner, always deep in the playoffs, somebody always competing for championships.”
Jabari Smith, who was considered to be one of the best offensive players in this year’s draft, reportedly averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and two assists per game. He also bagged SEC freshman of the year, All-SEC first-team and second-team All-America honors.
Houston is counting on Sengun to be its long-term solution at the center after dealing with Christian Wood. He played mostly a reserve role last season, appearing in 72 games with 13 starts. The Turkish player averaged 9.6 points and 5.5 rebounds as a rookie.
Smith spoke about his spirit of being a team player in a presser after the draft and said that he is “just going to bring a competitive edge” to this game, Associated Press reported.
“My shooting ability, my ability to score, ability to guard multiple positions, and just my will to win, I am a team player, so that is what they are getting”, he added.
The Houston Rockets have finished with the NBA’s worst record the last two seasons after reaching the playoffs in each of the previous eight seasons.
After trading James Harden and the rest of their established stars, Houston went all in on the rebuild, looking to develop young draft picks to bring the team back into contention. The strategy has not seemed to work out for the team so far.