With the NBA Draft just days away, rumors are heating up and Maryland’s all-American Jalen Smith has seen his draft stock all over the place. Some outlets see Smith being a fringe lottery selection, while others have him being taken late in the first round.
NBC Sports: Boston Celtics, Pick 14
Boston has seen a lot of trade rumors centered around finding a big man, and Smith would alleviate a lot of those concerns. Smith’s ability to hit outside shots as well as be a rim runner would fit him in perfectly with Boston’s offense, and his shot-blocking ability would help bolster an already impressive Celtics defense.
Bleacher Report: Minnesota Timberwolves, Pick 17
With Minnesota also holding the first pick in the draft, the Timberwolves have the chance to put together an exciting young duo with all-stars Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. Smith would fit well alongside Towns, with the two both possessing capable outside games, while Stix would be able to cover for Towns’ defensive liabilities.
CBS Sports: Brooklyn Nets, Pick 19
Brooklyn already has two good centers on its roster in DeAndre Jordan and Jarrett Allen, along with youngster Nic Claxton. Smith would likely see more minutes at power forward in Brooklyn, but his offensive skill set would fit well with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, allowing the Nets to spread the floor. However, with Brooklyn in the midst of a lot of trade rumors, it would be surprising if the Nets held onto their first-round pick.
After Miami’s surprising run to the NBA Finals, Smith joining the Heat would be exciting for Terps fans. Miami tends to run a smaller starting lineup, which would see Smith come off the bench, but still receive valuable minutes. Smith would potentially be the replacement for Kelly Olynyk, who has yet to exercise his player option for next season, and could also operate well with center Bam Adebayo.
Sports Illustrated: Denver Nuggets, Pick 22
Smith pairing alongside all-NBA big man Nikola Jokic would make for very entertaining basketball. The Nuggets are also thin at power forward right now, as both Jerami Grant and Paul Millsap are about to enter free agency. Backup center Mason Plumlee is also entering free agency, which would lead Smith to a lot of early playing time.
The Athletic: Toronto Raptors, Pick 29
While falling to the second-to-last pick in the first round would seem like a disappointment for Smith, the fit would be almost perfect. Both of the Raptors’ big men, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, are set to hit free agency this offseason, as is backup power forward Chris Boucher. This leaves Toronto with Pascal Siakam as their only frontcourt option right now, which could lead Smith to a lot of playing time.