Name: Joe Smith
Weight: 225 lbs
Birth Date: July 26, 1975 (Age: 35)
Birth Place: Norfolk, VA
Drafted: 1st Pick of the First Round in 1995 by the Golden State Warriors
Experience: 15 years
Joe Smith will not be relied upon to do much on the offensive end, though he has shown the ability in his career to be a very good offensive player. He came out of the University of Maryland in 1995 as a prolific scorer, and averaged in double figures the first four seasons of his career. At 6’10’’ he can score around the rim but also has the ability to step out and hit the 15-17 foot jumper. His scoring average has steadily declined throughout his 15 years in the League, though he did average 11.2 points per game in 50 games with the Bulls in part of the 2007-08 season. Anything the Nets get from Smith on the offensive end this season is gravy, as they are not expecting much from the 35-year old veteran.
Smith came out of college as a tremendous shot blocker and he averaged over 1 block per game in his first two seasons. Has a career average of 0.8 blocks per game and is a solid defender at the power forward position. He has been a decent defensive rebounder in his career, and averaged a career-high 5.4 defensive boards per game in 2003-04 with the Milwaukee Bucks. Injuries and age have caused some of Smith’s athleticism to decline but he can still make an impact on the defensive end off the bench for a few minutes per game.
Joe Smith was the 1994-95 NCAA AP Player of the Year in college and was the First overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft. The Nets are the 11th different team Smith has played for in his NBA career. Smith is involved in rap music off the court, as he calls himself “Joe Beast” and has his own record label called Nova Unit Records. He also started the Joe Smith Foundation to help underprivileged children.
Although he’ll be the 3rd (or 4th when Troy Murphy is healthy) power forward in Avery Johnson’s rotation, I see Joe Smith as having a very valuable role on this team. On the court he will be able to give the Nets about 10 minutes a game when needed. He has the ability to score around the rim, hit the mid-range jumper and he will play solid defense. The biggest role I see for Smith, however, is in helping the development of Derrick Favors. If things go as planned, I see the 15-year veteran being a mentor to the rook, and helping him adjust to NBA life. The acquisition of Joe Smith may not pay major dividends on the court, but it could end up being huge in the locker room.
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