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Secret Base Hall Of Fame: Josh Smith

Being paid thousands and thousands of {dollars} to be mediocre and provides minimal effort at your job actually sounds just like the dream. It’s even higher when that job entails touring the nation taking part in basketball. Because of this I envy Josh Smith.

It’s not a diss to Smith to say that he was a median NBA participant. There’ve been loads of gamers earlier than him that haven’t amounted to his profession, and shall be a lot extra sooner or later. If something, J Smoove’s 13-season journey needs to be celebrated as a enjoyable thrilling journey, one which was additionally sufficient to finesse the Detroit Pistons out of one of many weirder contracts sports activities has ever seen.

Within the 2013 offseason, Smith signed the most costly free-agent contract in Pistons historical past when he inked a four-year, $54 million deal. It was a direct catastrophe: Smith performed simply 105 video games with the group earlier than being waived within the 2014 season. Fortunately for Smith, the checks stored coming.

After not being with the group for almost six years, Smith lastly got here off the Pistons’ books in 2020 — they used the stretch provision once they lower him, prolonging the period of time they paid him however lowering the yearly wage cap hit. SIX YEARS! Smith performed his final NBA sport in November 2017, however nonetheless stored getting a bag yr after yr from his previous employer. Think about being so dysfunctional at your job that you just get fired, however nonetheless acquire a number of million-dollar checks years later. If you happen to’re gonna fail at one thing, be certain that it pays nicely. So what precisely did the Pistons see in Smith?

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Don’t think about that Smith was some bum who simply caught a fortunate break. That’s not completely true. Coming into the league, Smith was a high-flying, lanky athletic wing drafted contemporary outta highschool by the Atlanta Hawks. As a rookie, he was inserted within the beginning lineup and bought good minutes on a 13-win group, however performed a big function in upping their win complete to 26 and 30 wins in his second and third seasons respectively.

Smith confirmed flashes of brilliance on a Hawks group that made the playoffs in six straight seasons earlier than his departure to Detroit. He might go the rock, deal with the ball, block pictures, defend positions 1 via 5 on the court docket, run the ground, rating, and make it on an ESPN High 10 play section each different night time. When coming into the 2013 free company he was the one NBA participant to common at the least 15 factors, seven rebounds, three assists, two blocks, and a steal per sport. He was a stat-stuffing monster, but even on that Hawks group, he was by no means the very best participant behind “Iso” Joe Johnson and Al Horford. It’s as a result of he might by no means persistently discover his shot.

But he at all times let it fly, significantly from the three-point line. Smith was gifted many wide-open appears to be like from defenses daring him to shoot, and he virtually at all times took that shot regardless of how poor the numbers have been in his favor. He was a 28 % shooter from three however tried greater than 1,500 of them in his profession. It’s not like he didn’t see the clanks off the rim together with his personal eyes. Smith was simply cussed.

As a Hawks fan, watching J Smoove in his time with Atlanta was one of the vital conflicting experiences I had rooting for a group. On one hand, Smith might dazzle with posterizing dunks and slapping pictures into the stands. On the opposite, I might really feel the collective sigh of everybody within the area every time Smith noticed up for a three-point shot. It was irritating to see somebody with a lot potential virtually purposely restrict their sport by taking poor shot after poor shot. However like I stated, Smith nonetheless dazzled, and his distinctive productiveness didn’t cease the Pistons from hitting up his line in free company.

His time with Detroit was a catastrophe, however, in equity, the signing additionally made completely no sense from the get-go. Along with his talent set, Smith was most likely higher suited to play at energy ahead or heart. The one difficulty there was that the group’s finest younger gamers on the time have been two bigs in Andre Drummond and Greg Monore, forcing Smith to step outdoors the paint and shoot the ball. The Pistons group had large our bodies with poor outdoors taking pictures whereas the league was trending in the direction of smaller lineups and extra shooters. And proper there, smack dab within the center, was Smith, giving little effort. Because the group transitioned into the short-lived Stan Van Gundy, after ending the earlier season with a 29-53 file, Smith was by no means going to suit and his time as a Piston was over.

Smith performed for a number of extra years within the league, bouncing from group to group however by no means coming near his full potential. Seeing potential go to waste is gloomy, however at the least Smith can at all times cling his hat on the truth that he bought paid thousands and thousands of {dollars} from a group with out having to play for them. And that, proper there, is famous. Enjoying basketball for thousands and thousands of {dollars} and never even having to play basketball. What a life.

Tyson Whiting

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