Two of the top prospects in contention for the number one overall pick will need to get over how their season ended and focus on the NBA Draft, despite Kevin O'Connor's belief that they got screwed.
Reaching the end of a college basketball career is often not a pleasant experience. But Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith did not have ceremonious exits to the NCAA tournament. Holmgren fouled out of his final game against the Arkansas Razorbacks and Smith was blown out by the Miami Hurricanes while having one of the worst shooting performances of his career.
Still, as is often the case with star players, some are looking to their teammates as to why they are both eliminated from the NCAA tournament. The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor believes that both players were screwed by the performances by their point guards.
Andrew Nembhard and Zep Jasper are Holmgren and Smith's respective point guards, although Wendell Green Jr. saw the majority of time at point guard in Auburn's loss to Miami. Nembhard, Jasper, and Green Jr. did not have their best games, especially in terms of efficiency, but scapgoating them ignores other issues.
Holmgren and Smith both made mistakes in their final collegiate game and were also inefficent, although not as inefficient as their point guards. For two players preparing for the NBA Draft, inefficiency presents a concern, but player development and positional development may fix those concerns.
Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith in the NBA
Chet Holmgren and Jabari Smith will now prepare for the NBA Draft and for slightly different roles in the NBA as compared to their college programs. The skills they brought to college basketball were vital to their teams' success, but the NBA is full of players at or above their levels.
Jabari Smith was a power forward for the Auburn Tigers in 2021-2022, but he is more of a stretch four than a traditional power forward. Once he is in the NBA, he will be a player who wants to shoot the ball while also getting the opportunity to work the ball inside some, similar to Chris Bosh and Dirk Nowitzki.
While Chet Holmgren also receives comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki, his game is different than the legendary power forward. Holmgren is also drawing comparisons to Kevin Durant and Kristaps Porzingas, all of which could be fair comparisons depending on which skill set he chooses to focus on.
Poll : Who will be drafted higher in the 2022 NBA Draft?