Why Jabari Smith isn’t a worthy top pick

On Friday night, the 2022 NBA Draft rises, so it’s high time to take a closer look at the best forwards in this class, including potential top pick Jabari Smith.

“Wings are Kings” – this motto has changed little in recent years, even if Stephen Curry this year for the first time since Dirk Nowitzki 2011 (who was also more of a forward at the time) did not win the coveted Finals MVP trophy this year home. Every team is looking for these players between 2 meters and 2.08 meters, who can be used in numerous positions and can also defend them accordingly.

If they’re not stars, then please so-called “3-and-D players”. However, this terminology only scratches the surface. Ideally, each player can defend to some extent and hit the three-pointer. It has become more important in recent years that these role players can also make plays themselves if in doubt.

A good example of this is the Dallas Mavericks. Reggie Bullock and Dorian Finney-Smith are the epitome of “3-and-D”, but both have limitations in creating their own opportunities, which did not relieve Luka Doncic enough. These limitations only came into play in the conference finals, but it shows how valuable such skills can be.

The upcoming draft class is very interesting in this respect, even if the clear stars are missing. But there are some prospects who, with a little imagination, can offer more than just “3-and-D”. We are therefore looking at the top nine candidates who could stay with us in the NBA as forwards for a longer period of time.

NIKOLA JOVIC (MEGA MOZZART / SERBIA)

Birthday: 9. June 2003 (19) / Size: 2,11 Meter / Span: 2,18 Meter / Weight: 95 Kilo

Nikola Jovic: His stats per 40 minutes

PTS REB AST STL FG% 3P% FT%
16,8 6,7 5,1 1,0 41,4 31,5 (46/146) 71,8

Strengthen:

  • Jovic is the classic late bloomer who was mainly used as a shooting guard in his youth, but then had a growth spurt. The Serb is now almost 2.11 meters tall and still has the abilities of a guard. He’s at his best with the ball, especially when he gets the rebound and then makes the game fast in transition.
  • In addition, Jovic has a good feel for pick’n’roll. A constant mismatch with his size, he can create his own litter at will. Jovic can also make plays for his teammates, and at the same time he can appear as a blocker himself. This, coupled with his size, could give him great advantages in various matchups in the long run.
  • With its length, at least the upside is there to be a decent defender. He certainly showed good approaches as a Help Defender and could also provide a bit of ring protection if needed.

Weaknesses:

  • All the things about Jovic’s defense are just theory so far. The 19-year-old isn’t particularly quick and doesn’t move very well laterally. The physical requirements are simply not there for the Serb to become a good defender. The fact that he was sometimes noticed for playing only lax defense doesn’t make it any better.
  • The throw also remains very shaky. It’s to his credit that Jovic takes his throws with confidence and doesn’t hesitate, but his attempts didn’t really want to fall yet. Jovic will first have to earn the respect that he can really sink his threes.
  • And that’s important as Jovic doesn’t finish well near the ring either. There is a lack of balance in the body, especially at the beginning the forward should have great difficulties against the more athletic NBA players, both offensively and defensively. Jovic is more of a project that will take a year or two to get used to.

Remember: Hedo Türkoglu

SPOX forecast: Between 20 and 30

Best Fit: Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors

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