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Jabari Smith debut: Rockets rookie recovers from shaky start vs. Magic

We recap Jabari Smith’s biggest moments in his Summer League debut.

Houston Rockets Draft Press Conference
Jabari Smith Jr. of the Houston Rockets talks to the media during the Houston Rockets Draft Press Conference on June 27, 2022 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.
Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images

The Houston Rockets might have gotten who many people feel is the best player in the draft when they took Jabari Smith Jr. out of Auburn with the No. 3 overall pick. Smith was seemingly set to be the No. 1 pick until moments before the draft. The Orlando Magic eventually went with Paolo Banchero. In somewhat fitting fashion, Smith will face Banchero in what is the Summer League debut for both forwards. We’re tracking everything notable Smith does here.

Jabari Smith updates vs. Magic

All things considered, it was an underwhelming debut from Smith. He did not put up a bad stat line (10 points, seven rebounds, three assists) but there were no moments that really stood out. Not that one Summer League game should be a barometer for Smith’s career, but it was quite bland. Maybe it was Josh Christopher taking away Smith’s opportunities because he had the hot hand. We’ll see if Smith can deliver a bigger outing next time.

Smith has had a much better third quarter, even though he has picked up a couple fouls. The rookie now has eight points, four rebounds and two assists. He’s managed to get going a bit offensively but we’ll see if he gets more opportunities given Josh Christopher’s strong showing so far.

It’s the end of the first half and Smith would probably like to forget how it went. The rookie has three points, three rebounds and two assists, but he’s also got three personal fouls. He went 1-4 from the floor and 0-2 from deep. For someone who was billed as a go-to scoring option, this is not a fun start.

Smith has finally hit his first shot, so he’s at least got that to hang his hat on in this first half. It hasn’t been pretty, but it’s only one half of his first Summer League game. There’s still a long way to go.

It’s now three fouls for Smith and even though these games have no value whatsoever, there’s no way he’s playing significant minutes in the second quarter. Smith clearly has to calm himself down a bit. He does have two assists, two rebounds and one point off a free throw.

It’s been a rough start for Smith. He’s missed his lone shot of the first quarter so far and has picked up two fouls. Even though it’s just Summer League, the coaches might sit the rookie for a bit to let him catch his breath and collect himself. He does have an assist and a rebound, so Smith is finding ways to contribute outside of his offense.