With Alperen Sengun briefly sidelined by injury, rookie forward Jabari Smith Jr. has recently spent time playing as an agile center for the Houston Rockets. As his body develops and confidence rises, it’s a skillset the 19-year-old believes could serve him well in future years.
“As I get stronger, I feel like that’s where my advantage will be,” said Smith, the No. 3 overall draft picks from the 2022 first round. “That’s where I’ll be the biggest mismatch for other fives in the league. As I keep learning that position, I feel I can play that.”
One athletic big man for Smith to watch and attempt to emulate could be Anthony Davis, the No. 1 overall pick from a decade earlier in the NBA’s 2012 draft class. Davis, who has spent time at both power forward and center over his 11 seasons in the league, leads his Los Angeles Lakers into Toyota Center on Wednesday night.
Even with future Hall of Famer LeBron James out injured, the Lakers remain very much in the Western Conference playoff race. On the other hand, the young and rebuilding Rockets are already eliminated. Yet, Houston enters with three wins in its last six games on the back of a hot stretch by Smith, while the Lakers are on night two of a road back-to-back after Tuesday’s blowout win at New Orleans.
With the Rockets coming off perhaps their best win of the season in Monday’s upset over Boston, could that combination of recent momentum and favorable scheduling lead to another upset? Here’s a look at broadcast details, injuries, and expected lineups.
When and How to Watch
Date: Wednesday, March 15
Time: 7 pm Central
TV Channel: AT&T SportsNet Southwest, NBA League Pass
Live Stream: fuboTV (watch for free in Houston markets)
Probable starting lineups
Houston Rockets (16-52)
Guard: Kevin Porter Jr.
Guard: Jalen Green
Forward: KJ Martin
Forward: Tari Eason
Center: Jabari Smith Jr.
Los Angeles Lakers (34-35)
Projected lineups are based on each team’s previous game.
Houston’s injury report lists Alperen Sengun (left groin strain) as questionable. On Tuesday, Los Angeles listed LeBron James (right foot soreness) and Mo Bamba (left ankle sprain) as out, while Anthony Davis (right foot stress injury) was probable and played.
The Lakers won’t issue their report for Wednesday until a few hours prior to tipoff, since it will be night two of a road back-to-back.
Story originally appeared on Rockets Wire