Stephen Silas on Helping Jabari Smith Jr. Through Rookie Slump

Jabari Smith Jr has hit something similar to the rookie wall through his last four games.

The rookie forward recently fought the flu and returned to Houston’s lineup and was looking to bust through his slump when the Rockets played the Magic, but Houston coach Stephen Silas said that Smith “seemed out of rhythm” and directly attributed his lethargic play to Smith to looking like “someone who has been sick, out of practice, and in bed.”

“He seemed out of rhythm to me,” Silas said, per Sports Illustrated. “He seemed like someone who has been sick, out of practice, and in bed. He was trying to do the right but missed open looks and the ball a few times.”

Smith has averaged 10.0 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 0.8 blocks on 30.3 percent shooting from the field through the 10 games he’s played. After reaching double-digit scoring in his first five games, Smith hasn’t scored more than eight points since Oct. 30. The messy stretch hasn’t led to Silas or the Rockets deciding to press the panic button. As a matter of fact, Silas has experience helping rookies break through their slumps.

As a rookie, Jalen Green went through a three-game stretch where he averaged 5.7 points on 15.0 percent shooting from the field and 11.8 percent from beyond the arc. Green broke out of that slump with a 17-point outing against the Trail Blazers and finished the season averaging 20.3 points per game while knocking down 46.7 percent of his field goal attempts.

“We’ve been here before with young guys,” Silas said. “We know the recipe is hard work, competitiveness, and a want to get better. But that is part of being young. That’s a part of being a rookie going through the ups and downs.”

Smith will have a chance to break out when the Rockets return to action with a road game against the Raptors.