Jabari Smith’s first pre-draft workout helps him visualize fit with Magic

A little after noon on Thursday, Jabari Smith and Orlando Magic coach Jamahl Mosley gave each other a fist bump at the AdventHealth Practice Facility inside Amway Center.

A few seconds later, Mosley, who was speaking with other Magic personnel, patted Smith on his left shoulder and the two shared a smile as Orlando’s chief communications officer Joel Glass led the former Auburn forward to reporters waiting to speak with him after his pre-draft workout.

It remains to be seen whether a form of that encounter will repeat itself. For that to happen, the Magic would need to select Smith with their No. 1 pick in the June 23 NBA draft.

What was clear based on Smith’s post-workout media availability is that the Magic made a good impression.

“Even when I was finishing, the guys were coming up to me and talking to me,” Smith said. “That means a lot to me. They’re not just walking past and treating me like I’m another dude working out.”

Cole Anthony, Jonathan Isaac, Jalen Suggs, Franz and Moe Wagner and Mo Bamba — the latter will be a restricted free agent — were among Magic players who watched Smith before working out themselves.

“Teams usually don’t have half of their teams at home around this time,” Smith said. “That means something. They’re [really] hungry and close. They’re working trying to get to the next level.”

The interactions with Magic personnel — from coaches, players and front office staffers — helped Smith get a greater grasp of how he could fit in Orlando.

“This is a young team, one of the youngest in the league,” he said. “Adding me would just add another young player who’s hungry and got a lot left in the tank. I’ll add some energy and just another person wants to come in and work and get this organization where it needs to be.”

Smith didn’t downplay what Thursday meant to him.

It was the first of his two planned pre-draft workouts. Smith also will work out for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who hold the No. 2 pick in the draft.

The Thunder were the only team Smith interviewed with during the mid-May draft combine in Chicago, with the league deciding which teams speak to which prospects.

“If I said I wasn’t nervous, I’d be lying,” he said. “Coming into it, I was nervous. Everybody talking to me and getting me through it kind of relaxed me a little bit. And then, just have some fun with it. It was my first workout, so the first experience I’ll never forget. It was fun to get out here, push myself and get through it.”

Smith, along with former Duke forward Paolo Banchero and Gonzaga big man Chet Holmgren, are considered the top-three prospects in the draft and are expected to draw consideration for the top pick.

Holmgren is expected to work out for the Magic next week, a source confirmed to …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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