Houston Rockets rookie forward Jabari Smith Jr. is well regarded for his defensive potential, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he appears to greatly respect Golden State’s Draymond Green.
Over his 10-year NBA career, Green has averaged just 8.7 points in 28.5 minutes per game. Yet, he’s played a vital role on four NBA championship teams with the Warriors due primarily to his gifts as a strong and versatile defender, as well as a key facilitator on offense.
“How can people say Draymond Green is not a Hall of Famer,” Smith tweeted this week, complete with a facepalm emoji.
Houston’s athletic 19-year-old, who was taken at No. 3 overall in the first round of the 2022 NBA draft, is viewed by many scouts and league analysts as having potential to become an elite defender, in time. Thus, Golden State’s bruising forward could be someone that the 6-foot-10 Smith watches closely and attempts to learn from.
On offense, they’re very different players. Smith hasn’t shown nearly the gifts as a passer that Green did when he played in college at Michigan State, but Smith’s production as a long-range shooter at Auburn was far superior. While Green often operates with the ball in his hands to set up Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, Smith’s biggest potential value looks to be as a floor spacer to open driving lanes for players like Kevin Porter Jr. and Jalen Green with the Rockets.
For both players, however, it all starts with an intense defensive commitment and a willingness to impact games in ways beyond simply scoring a lot of points. Through that lens, it makes sense that Smith is already a big fan of Green as he enters his rookie season.
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Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire
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Author : Rockets Wire
Publish date : 2022-08-25 22:55:50
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