The Rockets‘ Jabari Smith and the Magic’s Paolo Banchero had their first regular season matchup Monday since Orlando’s last-minute decision to bypass Smith and make Banchero the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Banchero has gotten off to a sizzling start and is the early favorite for Rookie of the Year, while Smith is still adjusting to the NBA.
“He just needs to feel comfortable on the floor so we’re figuring that out as we go along,” Houston coach Stephen Silas said. “Having him on the elbow not just as a scorer but as a passer, we’re going to explore that. He has shown the ability to shoot the pull-up in transition as well as give it up and trail in transition. His 3-point shooting really sets up the rest of his game. People are hugged up to him and they close out to him. So, he can get to his drives or his pull-ups or whatever off that.”
Smith, who is shooting just 30.3% from the field and 30% from three-point range, said he hasn’t been discouraged by the slow start. He admits the transition from college is difficult, but he’s focused on learning to play at the NBA level.
“I feel like it’s just confidence, just trusting my work, being aggressive, being real precise with what I’m doing, not hesitating, and just playing my game,” Smith said. “I feel like it’s going to come. I’m not worried at all.”
There’s more from the Southwest Division:
- Bruno Fernando, who was the Rockets‘ starting center for the first two games of the season, is working to return from left patellar tendinosis, Feigen adds in a separate story. The team estimates he may need two more weeks to get medically cleared. “Bruno is … moving around pretty well but he has to see the doctor when we get back (from the road trip),” Silas said. “We’re making sure that he’s OK to continue ramping up. He’s ramping up. Hopefully, he’ll be back sooner than later. Conditioning definitely is a part of it.” Silas couldn’t offer a timetable for Jae’Sean Tate, who has been limited to three games because of a sore ankle.
- The injury to Zach Collins will create an opportunity for Charles Bassey, who signed a two-way deal with the Spurs last month, tweets Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Coach Gregg Popovich has been impressed with what he’s seen from Bassey so far. “He kind of looks the part, doesn’t look like a deer in the headlights or anything like that,” Popovich said (Twitter link). “He is out there playing. He is aggressive, a good defender, moved the ball well.”
- Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. recently played five-on-five for the first time since offseason foot surgery, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN. “It’s kind of baby steps right now,” coach Taylor Jenkins said.
6 thoughts on “Southwest Notes: J. Smith, Fernando, Bassey, Jackson Jr.”
The rockets have a bunch of high volume scorers who can’t shot. A bunch of bricks
KPJ was the best catch and shoot 3pt% last year and is still shooting fairly well, Green sunk more 3s than any rook last year and has improved, shooting mid/ high 30s on high volume shooting. They’re both good shooter and are only getting better. Martin is also a good shooter, not to mention Gordon who is historically an elite shooter. Houston have very good shooter. It don’t help who they have played in their 1st 12.
Smiths issue is glaringly obvious RN and it’s the time he takes to shoot, it gives far too much time for the defender to close out, he relies on his height but when he’s being guarded by tall guys it won’t work. he’ll get better. But so far, his shooting has been poor by his standards.
They’re on a good course, between them Detroit & OKC, if they can develop the cores and keep the squad mostly they’ll all be top teams in a couple years. Only difference between these 3 & Cavs is how long they have been building and the fact Cavs traded for a star in Mitchell. All 4 will be forces sooner rather than later.
Tis often the case when drafting the exact same player type at different heights.
That’s A.I. for you. If you let it do all the work it will print out the same thing everytime.
It thinks very highly of itself and sees nothing wrong with that.
Orlando and Houston are the worst offenders of that statement.
Jabari forgot how to shoot. Dude is about to go <30% overall
Silas talking about offense more and more to hide his inability to teach some defense. Fire him! Kick him off the ship and walk the pier! Enough with this guy. There is no obligation to keep this guy around and I don’t understand why they do. Worst ran organization in the NBA next to the Nets.
Pre season comment from Silas: “we don’t care about the offence, that’ll sort itself with the players we have, our main goal is defence defence defence.”
Funny how things change. I’m inclined to agree to a point. Although some of their stats look good(Green, KPJ, Sengun etc), the players are all underperforming on both offence and D. They could do with either another coach to help or just go a different way get a new head coach to help elevate the players.