No. 1? Magic work out Jabari Smith in advance of NBA draft

Jun 8, 2022, 10:24 PM | Updated: Jun 9, 2022, 12:14 pm

Auburn's Jabari Smith speaks to reporters Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Orlando, Fla. after going throu...

Auburn's Jabari Smith speaks to reporters Thursday, June 9, 2022 in Orlando, Fla. after going through a workout with the Orlando Magic, who hold the No. 1 pick in the June 23 NBA Draft. Smith is a top candidate to go first overall. (AP Photo/Tim Reynolds)

(AP Photo/Tim Reynolds)

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Jabari Smith didn’t even attempt to minimize the significance of what was happening. He was in an NBA gym, wearing NBA apparel, getting guidance from NBA coaches.

It was a big moment for him.

It’ll lead to a big decision for the Orlando Magic.

Smith did the first of his two planned pre-NBA draft workouts on Thursday, the former Auburn All-American going through drills for the Magic — the team that holds the No. 1 pick for the June 23 draft. His other workout will be for Oklahoma City, the team that has the No. 2 selection.

“If I said I wasn’t nervous, I’d be lying,” Smith said. “Coming into it, I was nervous. But everybody talking to me and getting me through it just kind of relaxed me a little bit. And then, just have some fun with it — that’s what I tried to do.”

The workout at the AdventHealth Practice Facility at Amway Center, the team’s home arena, was closed to everyone except Magic personnel. But a few fans, so to speak, got in anyway: As Smith’s workout went on, the doors on one end of the court kept opening as interested parties kept arriving — Magic players, including Cole Anthony, Mo Bamba and Jonathan Isaac.

There was applause at times, even a few audible cheers. Clearly, at least some of the onlookers were enjoying the show. Smith said he was getting help from the players who were watching, even if it just meant a few handshakes and a quick bit of praise.

“It was my first workout, so the first experience that I’ll never forget, really,” said the 19-year-old Smith. “It was it was fun to get out here and push myself and get through it.”

The consensus is that there are three players above most others in the draft — Smith, Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren and Duke’s Paolo Banchero. All are forwards, all at least 6-foot-10 (Holmgren is a 7-footer), all played one year of college ball and all figure to be meriting serious consideration for the No. 1 spot.

Smith averaged 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds in his lone season at Auburn, shooting 43% from the field and 42% from 3-point range. Against teams that were ranked in the AP Top 25 when facing Auburn, Smith averaged 20.8 points and 6.4 rebounds. But it’s the two-way game — Smith excels defensively — that might rate him the edge in the race to be the No. 1 selection.

“I just think it’s my will to win that sets me apart,” Smith said. “I don’t really care about stats and glamour and all that. I just want to really win and play to win every game.”

When it was over and the workout was done, Smith looked around for a moment at the gym, taking it all in. On Thursday, he was a guest, auditioning.

In a couple weeks, the same gym might become home.

“I think I can fit in it really well,” Smith said. “Seeing the guys and seeing the players, this is a young team, one of the youngest in the league. So, adding me would just add another young player who was hungry and got a lot left in the tank. So, I’ll add some energy and just another person wants to come in and work and get this organization where it needs to be.”


More AP NBA: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

3 months ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

3 months ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

3 months ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

3 months ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

3 months ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

3 months ago

No. 1? Magic work out Jabari Smith in advance of NBA draft