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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
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Houston Rockets Jabari Smith Jr. and Tari Eason Named to NBA All-Rookie Teams
Posted: May 8, 2023 -- 1:35 p.m.
Today, the NBA announced All-Rookie teams for the 2022-23 season and Houston Rockets forwards Jabari Smith Jr. and Tari Eason were both named Second Team selections. This is the third time the Rockets have had two All-Rookie members in the same season (Michael Dickerson and Cuttino Mobley in 1999 and Carl Landry and Luis Scola in 2008).
Four Rockets have now been named to an All-Rookie team over the past three seasons with Jalen Green earning First Team honors in 2021-22 and Jae’Sean Tate being selected First Team in 2020-21.
Smith was the third overall pick by Houston in the 2022 NBA Draft and was 19 years old throughout the season. He started all 79 of his games played while averaging 12.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.94 blocks and 1.5 3-pointers made. Smith is the first player in NBA history to have reached his totals of points, rebounds, blocks and 3-pointers made through the first 79 games played of a career.
Over the final 18 games of the season, Smith averaged 16.3 ppg and 8.2 rpg while recording eight of his 16 double-doubles. He tied for the fourth-most double-doubles by a player 19 or younger in league history. Smith also joined Luka Don?i? as the only rookies to have recorded at least 550 rebounds and 100 three-point field goals made in a single season.
Eason was the 17th overall pick by the Rockets in the 2022 NBA Draft following his sophomore season at Louisiana State. He appeared in all 82 games this season while averaging 9.3 points per game, 6.0 rebounds per game, 1.1 assists per game and 1.17 steals per game in 21.5 minutes per game. Eason became the fourth player of any experience to have averaged at least 9.0 points per game, 6.0 rebounds per game and 1.00 steals per game in fewer than 22.0 minutes per game in a season and just the second going back to 1981-82.
The 21-year-old was the fifth rookie to have recorded at least 450 rebounds, 90 steals, 40 blocks and 50 3-pointers joining Carmelo Anthony, Larry Bird, Lamar Odom and Antoine Walker. Eason was also the third player in league history with at least 190 offensive rebounds and 90 steals while playing fewer than 1,800 minutes in a season.
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