Excited Rafael Stone reacts to Jabari Smith addition, 2022 Rockets draft

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It was a busy draft night for the Rockets, headlined by the pick of Auburn forward Jabari Smith at No. 3 in the 2022 first round. Smith was widely expected to be selected by Orlando at No. 1 overall, so his availability to Houston came as a shocking late development after the Magic opted to change course and pick Duke’s Paolo Banchero.

Known for his elite shooting and versatile defense, Smith should significantly help a Houston squad that ranked dead last among the NBA’s 30 teams in defense last season. The same can be said of LSU forward Tari Eason, who was drafted by the Rockets at No. 17 (via Brooklyn) as a direct result of the blockbuster James Harden trade.

Here’s what stood out about Thursday’s draft night to general manager Rafael Stone. When reading, keep in mind that Stone was not yet able to comment on the addition of Kentucky guard TyTy Washington Jr. at No. 29, since that came as part of a multi-team trade for Christian Wood that has yet to be formally processed by the league office.

Related

Houston trades back from No. 26 to No. 29, drafts TyTy Washington Jr.

Jabari Smith happy to be where he’s wanted in Houston

Houston bolsters defense, selects LSU forward Tari Eason at No. 17

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Rafael Stone’s key takeaways

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