Rockets' Rookies Impress New Teammate

August 10, 2023

Athlete Studio

20 year old Jabari Smith Jr already boasts a year of NBA experience, earning All-Rookie second-team honors. What sets Smith apart is that he is actually younger than the newly drafted rookie, Amen Thompson, who was selected as the No. 4 pick in the 2023 first round.

Given this unusual situation, Smith gains a unique outlook while assessing Houston's other young budding talent. Having shared the court with Thompson and fellow first-round rookie Cam Whitmore (No. 20) during an impressive 5-1 run at the NBA's 2023 summer league, Smith has acquired invaluable understanding of their skills and future possibilities.

Smith recently shared his thoughts on this topic and more in an exciting episode of "The Bradeaux & Will Show."

"They are two of the most athletic people that I’ve seen or played with. Not just jumping, I’m talking about speed and reactions."

"Their instincts on defense, you can’t really teach that. You can teach where to be in spots … but just that knack for the ball, that’s like a gift. They both have that."

"They were unselfish and they listen. They weren’t worried about their shots. They really just wanted to win. That’s what I liked most about them. They were cool to play with."

As the 2023-24 training camp approaches in October, it remains uncertain what roles Thompson and Whitmore will assume in the Rockets' rotation, if any. In contrast to previous seasons, where highly touted rookies like Smith received immediate playing time, Houston's current roster features a mix of young prospects and newly signed veteran players, including Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks, and Jeff Green.

Given the acknowledgement the two have received from the team regarding their performance so far, one thing is clear, both rookies possess the right attitude and determination to make the most of any chance that comes their way.

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