Jabari Smith Sr. has revealed the Oklahoma City Thunder told his son they would select him second overall at the 2022 NBA Draft.
Smith Sr. said that when the Thunder selected Chet Holmgren instead, Smith Jr. was deeply affected.
“So, they called Chet Holmgren’s name, and he lost it,” Smith Sr. told Andscape. “Leg went to shaking. I looked at him. He is almost in tears. And I forgot that he told me that OKC [promised to draft him], so I got to keep my mouth closed about that.
“I talked to him, ‘Well, hey, what are you doing? Straighten your face, man. You good, you good, you good.’ You know the camera was right at the table … “First of all, you’re a millionaire. Second of all, I don’t think he understand the numbers of how many people in the world that play basketball who would love to just be in this room. It’s a blessing. It’s a [heck] of a day.”
Six months later and Smith Jr. is in a much better position than the man selected ahead of him.
He is averaging 14.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per 36 minutes, while Holmgren has been ruled out for the entire season with a foot injury that occurred during a preseason Pro-am game.
Holmgren could always overtake Smith Jr. of course, but the Thunder would have to be at least a little nervous about the chances of him suffering further injuries.