Via the Houston Chronicle:
The slow burn that is Jabari Smith’s rookie season with the Houston Rockets flashed some serious sparks on Sunday night.
Houston’s forward and the No. 3 pick in the 2022 NBA draft tallied 22 points and seven assists in a narrow loss to the defending champions, registering a career-high scoring night as he made things difficult for the Golden State Warriors on both ends of the floor. Smith’s first professional campaign has been uneven thus far. Sunday night was the clearest example of his All-NBA potential.
“[Those are] some of the greatest players to ever do it out there,” Smith said following Houston’s 127-120 loss. “Definitely a confidence booster going out there and knowing I can compete with some of the greatest.”
The season-best effort from Smith continued his progression on the offensive end of the floor after a slow start. Smith entered Tuesday night averaging just 10.9 points per game, fourth among all rookies. He’s shooting a paltry 33.3 percent from the floor and 30.2 percent from three, a stark contrast to his 42 percent mark from three during one season at Auburn. Smith is still getting plenty of respect from defenses as a floor spacer. But through his first 15 games, Smith struggled to convert many of his open looks.