NBA DRAFT: Houston Rockets pick Jabari Smith from Auburn first, then grab talent from LSU and Kentucky

GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA - MARCH 20: Jabari Smith #10 of the Auburn Tigers looks on in the first half against the Miami (Fl) Hurricanes during the second round of the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena on March 20, 2022 in Greenville, South Carolina. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) (Kevin C. Cox, 2022 Getty Images)

HOUSTON – Houston, please welcome your newest Houston Rocket - Jabari Smith!

The Houston Rockets made their first selection of the 2022 NBA Draft - and with the third overall selection, they chose Jabari Smith from Auburn University.

In his one year at Auburn, Smith was chosen as National Freshman of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year. He was also voted the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year.

Smith averaged 16.9 points and 7.4 rebounds, with season highs of 31 points in February against Vanderbilt and 15 rebounds in March against Miami (FL).

Smith was widely viewed by many mock drafts as the consensus prediction for the first overall pick before the Orlando Magic opted instead on Thursday for Duke’s Paolo Banchero.

ROCKETS ADD LSU FORWARD TARI EASON WITH 17TH PICK

The Houston Rockets continued with the defensive trend, choosing LSU forward Tari Eason with the 17th overall pick. Eason has long been linked to Houston, after meeting with the team at the NBA Scouting Combine in Chicago, then working out for the Rockets.

Eason is listed at 6-foot-8, 216 pounds and averaged 16.9 points per game for the Tigers. Eason largely came off the bench, but the sophomore’s size, wingspan and defensive versatility attracted NBA teams.

REPORTS: ROCKETS TO ADD POINT GUARD TY TY WASHINGTON WITH 29TH PICK

After multiple trades that have been reported, but are yet to clear the league office, the Rockets should eventually end up with 29th pick Ty Ty Washington, a point guard out of Kentucky. Once Houston’s trade to Dallas is finalized through the league, the team can officially welcome the guard. Washington is a speedy 6-foot-3 guard who set the Kentucky record for assists in a game with 17. He broke a record set by future teammate John Wall. Washington averaged 12.5 points and 3.9 assists in his lone season with the Wildcats.

Houston reportedly traded back from the 26th pick to 29th overall, and will pick up two future 2nd round picks from the Minnesota Timberwolves.