Joe Smith Replaces Sean May on Nets
That speaks of commendable longevity, even if Smith, the No. 1 pick in 1995, didn't exactly peak as highly as most believed he would. What's not clear is whether Smith is helping his team on the court as this point. Deposed Hawks coach Mike Woodson didn't seem to think so, with Smith's minutes dropping off a shelf, as this sparkline of Joe's career minutes-per-game average shows: . Smith has been a roleplayer for several years; at this point, but last year, at fewer than 10 minutes a game, he had basically become a bit player.
Joe can still rebound, but his offense -- which by the 2007-08 season, split between Chicago and Cleveland, had already become that of the mid-range set shot variety, primarily -- has fallen off. Smith is shooting as infrequently as ever, but his field goal percentage still can't keep up with the general big-man standard of 48 percent: . Of course, Joe was never the most efficient big man in the first place, regularly relying on his jumper. But the fact remains that, at this point, a team is better served if Joe Smith is not taking a lot of shots.
The Nets have some depth in the frontcourt, with Brook Lopez returning, Derrick Favors getting his feet wet, Troy Murphy killing time, and Kris Humphries, undrafted rookie Brian Zoubek and free agent acquisition Johan Petro rounding out the edges. Favors and Lopez could have a worse mentor than Smith; he's said to be a fine lockerroom presence and he's certainly made his name as a hard worker over the years. But again, given that the game is in the process of passing him by, that's where the Nets will need to see results from this investment, because he's not likely to help much on the court.
This news also means that Joe Smith's full-time rap career is presumably on hold, which is too bad, because "Joe Beast" is better than any '90s NBA rapper you can think of.