NBA

NBA Draft 2022: Number one pick snub 'definitely added a chip', says Jabari Smith

By Sports Desk June 24, 2022

Jabari Smith admitted there is a chip on his shoulder after being overlooked by the Orlando Magic for the number one pick of the 2022 NBA Draft, but vowed to show the Houston Rockets that the Magic's loss is their gain.

Orlando instead picked Paolo Banchero, despite Smith being heavily tipped to have his name called.

Chet Holmgren was chosen second as expected by Oklahoma City Thunder, allowing the Rockets the chance to pick up Smith at three.

Speaking to reporters after Thursday's draft, the 19-year-old said: "[It] Definitely added a chip, but God makes no mistakes, so I'm happy to be here. 

"I'm happy to be where I'm wanted. I'm happy to get to Houston and just show them. Give them what they picked. Just happy to be here."

Smith was a disruptive defender for Aubern, and averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 42.9 per cent from the floor and 42 per cent from the three-point line in 2021-22.

The forward was named National Freshman of the Year by both the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

He will link up with other promising youngsters at Toyota Center, including Jalen Green and Alperen Sengun, both claimed in last year's draft.

"Most thing I'm looking forward to is just growing with them over these next few years," Smith added.

"We're all young, all new to the NBA lifestyle, so just learning from them. They're older than me, so just getting in there and ultimately building that relationship with them, so it can transfer to the court."

The Rockets had a league-worst record of 20-62 in the 2021-22 season, but Smith is aiming high, believing already that his new team can reach the postseason.

"I want to make the playoffs," Smith told ESPN. "I want to win games. That is how I was raised. That is just who I am. I want to come in and win games.

"I know if I come in every day trying to win, everything else will take care of itself. I am looking forward to a big year."

Related items

  • Pistons v Wizards game postponed due to weather-hit travel issues Pistons v Wizards game postponed due to weather-hit travel issues

    Wednesday's game between the Detroit Pistons and the Washington Wizards has been postponed due to weather-related travel issues.

    The Pistons have been unable to get back to Detroit after Monday's defeat at the Dallas Mavericks, with an ice storm leading to several flights out of Dallas Fort-Worth International Airport being cancelled in recent days.

    A weather warning will remain in effect until at least Thursday, with ice also affecting roads.

    The Pistons said in a statement: "We will provide further information on the new date and time once it is available."

    Detroit sit bottom of the Eastern Conference with a record of 13-39, while the ninth-placed Wizards are on a six-game win streak, currently 24-26 overall for the season.

    According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Thursday's game between the Mavericks and the New Orleans Pelicans is also in doubt due to the weather conditions.

  • Bobby Gray scores 45 as Horizon blows out Storm to retain Elite 1 Caribbean Basketball Winter League title Bobby Gray scores 45 as Horizon blows out Storm to retain Elite 1 Caribbean Basketball Winter League title

    Bobby Gray scored 45 points as Horizon successfully defended its title after thrashing Storm by 113-89 in the final of the Elite 1 Caribbean Basketball Winter League on Sunday at the National Arena in Kingston.

    Meanwhile, Waves copped third place by delivering a similar thrashing to the Rivers who ended the competition without a victory from their eight games.

    The final was competitive right up to two minutes before the end of the first quarter when Horizon went on a 10-2 run to open up a 12-point lead.

    After that, it was basically one-way traffic as Horizon increased their lead in each subsequent quarter leading 59-47 and 83-68, before emphatically retaining their title.

    Gray was named MVP but he was supported by Asaad Woods and Rasheed Maynard Woods who scored 18 and 17 points, respectively.

     Da'Rell Dominek scored 30 points and Jayrn Johnson 22 for the Storm, but could have done with a big game from their best player Brandon BDot Armstrong, who scored only six points in what was his worst game of the tournament.

    "(I) feel pretty elated tonight. We had done it in the summer and this is the winter league and we are able to pull off another championship again,” said Horizon head coach Cleon Morgan.

    “We came out tonight looked a little bit smoother even though we started off a little sloppy but regardless of that we picked up back the pace and we maintained the lead all the way till the end of the game."

    Storm’s head coach, Oneil Brown, said his team did not play to win.

    "Actually, a lot of us struggled. I think the guard play; Horizon had better guard play than us tonight,” he said.

    “Their guards outscored us and you can see the score at the end. I am disappointed in my team. If it wasn't for Da'Rell we'd by down by 40 and the game would be long over but it has been a good season, ups and down and we looking forward for next year."

    In the playoff for third, Waves came prepared to close out the championship with a win after narrowly missing out on a place in the final.

    They dominated Rivers in every quarter and category - three-pointers, blocks, free throws and defense. They led 30-12, 52-33, 82-67 before closing out the victory 110-86.

    Lushane Wilson scored 27 points and Cameron Burhannon 26 points for Waves while Ricky Shuford had a game-high 35 points and the dependable Anthony Ottleym 14, for Rivers.

    "It was a good game but it was one of the toughest games of the season for us mentally. I am really proud of the guys because I was worried,” said Waves coach Rohan Robinson afterwards.

    “They said they wanted to finish it off strong, they’re not going out like losers. They are looking forward again to the next tournament in the summer."

    After leading Rivers to yet another disappointing loss, Ludlow Barker hopes to get another chance at coaching in the league.

    "I think if we going to have the rosters and we can select some more of the players then. If we can choose the kind of team we need then we will get a chance but if you have to play with those you are given then you have to work with it," he said.

    League owner Wayne Dawkins was pleased with the tournament stating that the league was here to stay.

    "The level of talent we were able to attract down here was extremely high,” he said.

    “Our coaching staff did a phenomenal job, our table staff and everybody else, because we really have to get that down in order to be able to scale and grow this thing and so that I was very pleased with."

  • Middleton at ease with bench role after helping Bucks to victory over Hornets Middleton at ease with bench role after helping Bucks to victory over Hornets

    Khris Middleton is unconcerned by his bench role after his best game of 2023 during the Milwaukee Bucks' win over the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday.

    The small forward posted 18 points, three rebounds and three assists to help his side pull away in the third quarter en route to a 124-115 victory.

    Having struggled with soreness in his right knee that led him to missing 18 games, the three-time All-Star has worked his way back in recent weeks.

    After delivering the best performance of his latest comeback spell, Middleton stressed he remains untroubled by performing a role that requires him to come off the sidelines.

    "I started my career coming off the bench, so it doesn't really bother me at all," he said. "I've been on the bench before, not playing games.

    "Sometimes, [I am] coming in [the] first quarter, [the] second quarter or not until the second half. I just know I have to stay ready and have to be loose.

    "Right now, I'm trying to be as aggressive as I can. I know it sounds simple, but that's just the mindset I'm trying to come up with, especially with my limited minutes.

    "Hopefully as my minutes keep going [up], I keep the same mindset, because it's been working."

    Middleton featured for 20 minutes as team-mate Giannis Antetokounmpo guided the Bucks to victory with 34 points and 18 rebounds.

    They next play the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday and then the Miami Heat two days later in a double home stand.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.