CBS Sports gives pro comparison to Auburn forward Jabari Smith

Auburn forward Jabari Smith is considered one of the best players available in the upcoming 2022 NBA draft. In a recent CBS Sports article, reporter Kyle Boone Smith gave a professional comparison to the Denver Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr.

“Porter’s shooting ability at 6-10 got him into the lottery despite some clear injury concerns after an injury-plagued season in Missouri,” Boone wrote. “Smith is the potential No. 1 in this class for the same reason. He shot 42% from 3-point range and ranked in the 94th percentile of all collegiate players as a spot-up shooter, according to Synergy data. Both have a lot more to offer than spot-up shooters – Smith, for example, has a lot of defensive potential – but their sniper and position size are two of the best prospects in recent years.”

The Orlando Magic have their eyes open blacksmith with the overall selection No. 1, according to a report by ESPN.

“Personally, I’m not opposed to them picking Jabari Smith number one,” said Travis Branham, basketball analyst at 247Sports. “He’s arguably the safest prospect, especially when you combine how high his upside potential is. This child has come a long way. I’ve been watching him from the time he was a sophomore (high school) to this point. This kid has consistently made not just leaps, but significant leaps every single step of the way. Most people won’t believe it, but honestly he wasn’t even a shooter or a very consistent shooter, a reliable shooter, until his senior year of high school. He’s shot over 40% out of three this year. He’s really ramped up his arsenal on offense. I like this current projection that they make him number one.”

Smith averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks per game this season. But more than his performance, it’s his potential that attracts NBA teams. At 6-foot-10, Smith is a knock-down shooter making 42% of his 3-point attempts while making nearly eight of them per 40 minutes. Add in his nearly 80% free throw shooting, and Smith has the kind of shot profile teams can count on.

“Jabari fits into the modern NBA,” said Adam Finkelstein of 247Sports. “He’s a tough shot maker. He is the most changeable defender of the group. What really worries me – and I wholeheartedly agree with what you said about how much he’s improved over the years – is that I’ve written so much. What worries me is that he doesn’t dominate the game within the suit. And if you’re 6ft 10 – I want to see that you’re a killer inside. He shot 43% on two-point field goals. The number of shots he attempted on the rim was I think 16%. Conversely, Chet and Paolo were both above 40 (percent).”

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Smith, a former five-star recruit from Tyone (Ga.) Sandy Creek High, was the No. 7 overall and No. 2 power forward of the Class of 2021 according to the industry-compiled 247Sports Composite. He was the top ranked players from Georgia.

Sam Marsdale contributed to this report.

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