2022 NBA Draft Scouting Report: Jabari Smith
A look at his strengths, weaknesses and what to expect
creating off the dribble
Jabari Smith took college basketball by storm this year, immediately producing for an upstart Auburn team. Ever since, he’s been a top 3 projected pick, wowing scouts and fans alike with his elite perimeter shooting, midrange shot-making, and infectious energy. Here's the thing with Jabari, he’s largely been effective as a play finisher on offense, but some are suggesting he’s an elite shot-creator. Unfortunately, I don’t agree with that. He really struggles to create off the dribble and when he does, it never comes easy. He ranked in the 49th percentile in post-up shot attempts (0.94 PPP), and the 48th percentile in shots around the basket (1.113 PPP). Too many possessions started with him fighting for post position with a much smaller player and ended with him settling for a long, contested midrange shot. I'm really hoping he doesn't get miscast as a primary option because if he does, the discourse could get ugly. We should appreciate him for who he is, an elite wing shooter with switchable perimeter defense. Smith shot 42% from three on 5.5 attempts per game, and averaged 1.045 PPP (68th percentile) and 1.957 PPP (100th percentile) on guarded and unguarded catch and shoot shot attempts respectively. Coupled with his perimeter defense, Smith has a very high floor already and though it will be very difficult for him to improve his handle and fluidity on the offensive end, it’s certainly within the realm of possibility.
Speaking of his defense, Smith was mostly an OK off-ball defender and I found myself much, much less optimistic in his rim protection than I was coming into the season, though he still had some good weakside blocks/contests.
Projected NBA 3P%
Worst Case: 30.77%
Likely: 34.99% - 38.33%
Best Case: 42.32%
*One Number Guess: 35.97%
*MAE of 2.5
*Draft Model Results
Model Score: 7.30
*Full draft model writeup to be released day prior to the draft