Jabari Smith Jr. aiming to win NBA’s Most Improved Player in 2023-24

For Jabari Smith Jr., the No. 3 overall pick of the 2022 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets, his 2022-23 rookie season wasn’t all that he envisioned. While Smith did earn All-Rookie Second Team honors, the projected sharpshooter out of Auburn connected on just 40.8% of his overall shots and 30.7% from 3-point range.

His 2023-24 league year, however, is already off to a much better start after a scintillating performance at the NBA’s 2023 summer league. Now, as Smith and the Rockets prepare to start training camp in early October, he has higher goals ahead for the new season.

On a new episode of The Bradeaux & Will Show, Smith was asked about his personal goals for the upcoming season. He responded:

Just be the most consistent, everyday guy that I can be. Go in to every game with the same mentality. Don’t change.

Just impact winning. That’s my biggest thing. Whether it’s averaging 10 points or averaging 20, I just want to affect winning. I definitely want to strive to win Most Improved Player. I’ve been working so hard this summer, why wouldn’t I try to go get that?

If I have that success, I know our team will have that success. Making the playoffs, play-in, or whatever. Just being in the postseason. That’s my goal, ultimately.

That consistency was on full display during Smith’s brilliant stint in Las Vegas. In two games with the summer Rockets — both wins — Smith averaged 35.5 points (48.8% FG, 33.3% on 3-pointers), 7.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists in 32.2 minutes per game.

Now, the challenge becomes translating that type of showing from summer league to real games against full-strength NBA rosters.

The complete podcast interview can be listened to below.

Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire

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