Unique forward who blends advanced jump shooting ability with great intensity and versatility on the defensive end but is still only scratching the surface of the two-way weapon he could become.
About Jabari Smith
Jabari Smith is a tall forward with impressive perimeter shooting ability who brings tremendous intensity and versatility to the defensive end. The son of former junior college and LSU standout, Jabari Smith, who spent parts of four seasons in the NBA, the second generation pro solidified himself as one of the top-10 prospects in the high school class of 2021 in the summer before his junior year averaging 13.8 points and 6.2 rebounds over 18 minutes per game while helping the United States to a gold medal at the 2019 FIBA U16 Americas Championship.
Capping his prep career at Sandy Creek High School (GA) with McDonald’s All-American honors, the two-way forward figured to play a prominent role as a freshman at Auburn, but exceeded expectations as one of the driving forces behind the Tigers rise to the top of The Associated Press poll for the first time in program history. Meshing well with a host of newcomers under head coach Bruce Pearl, Smith averaged 16.9 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.0 assists while shooting 42% from beyond the arc in over 28.8 minutes per game to earn National Freshman of the Year and Consensus Second-Team All-American honors.
• Listed at 6-foot-10 without shoes with decent length and a 220-pound frame that still has some room to fill out, Smith has good size for a power forward. He is more fluid than explosive, but has great lateral quickness for his size.
• Making the most of his size and ability to move his feet on the defensive end, Smith stood out consistently with his ability to guard multiple positions and the rare, unwavering motor he played with at just 18 years old.
• Showing dynamic jump shooting ability for a college freshman, Smith filled a fairly unique offensive role in his lone collegiate season as Auburn’s only particularly consistent shot-maker and leading scorer. Making shots from all over the floor both off the catch and off the dribble out of a variety of actions, his shooting consistency held a prominent role in Auburn’s half court offense. His ball ability to create high percentage shots off the dribble and finishing consistency remain early in their development, but his utility as a shot-maker is of obvious value at the NBA level.
• Knocking down set shots at a very strong rate as a floor spacer while also serving as the target of many of Auburn’s designed actions in the half court, Smith did a little bit of everything offensively for the Tigers as their most efficient option in the half court. Getting shots running off screens, popping to the perimeter, receiving hand offs, and attacking mismatches, the Georgia native saw his role expand as the year wore on.
• Shooting the ball with excellent mechanics, footwork, rotation, and touch, nearly two-thirds of Smith’s shot attempts were jumpers. Looking comfortable getting jumpers in a wide array of situations with his attempts split almost evenly between catch and shoot jumpers and pull-ups, he displayed appealing versatility with the way he scored from the perimeter. Doing some things few 18-year-olds are able to contorting his body to square up in the air to make shots, throwing in several jumpers after drawing fouls on rip-through moves, and making turnarounds spinning both directions in the post, Smith is far more than just a floor spacer. He averaged a revealing 1.20 points per catch and shoot jump shot [91st percentile] and 1.07 points per dribble jumper [96th percentile] on the year.
• Finding ways to get his shot off from the perimeter but still developing as a ball handler and slasher, only 19% of Smith’s shots came in finishing situations in the half court. More fluid than explosive in traffic, Smith did not shy away from contact last season and finished several poster dunks, but scored 1.11 points per shot around the rim in the half court [48th percentile] and has room to become more consistent navigating traffic and sound as a decision-maker when putting the ball on the floor.
• Impacting games defensively in ways that do not show up in a box score, Smith’s talent on that end of the floor was an important factor in Auburn’s rise to prominence last season. Showing a lot of fight regardless of how things were going for him on the offensive end, getting low while containing smaller guards on switches, and covering a lot of ground trying to make things happen off the ball, he is a multi-positional defender who competes with rare consistency.
• Allowing 0.55 points per one-on-one possession [86th percentile], Smith held up exceptionally well guarding on the ball this season but still has some natural room to grow as an off-ball defender as he picks up high-level experience.
— Profile by Synergy Sports