Player Highlight: Ish Smith

A lot of players have rough starts to their professional careers in basketball, and a lot don’t make it out of the grey space. A modern day success in today’s NBA, here’s the story of Ish Smith, a man known by many teams and many numbers.

Now in his 7th NBA season, Ish Smith has suited up for nearly ten teams over the years. It all started in 2010,  Ish was an undrafted player, signed by the Houston Rockets. After appearing for 28 games, he was eventually waived. Ish would then go on to suit up for multiple teams including: the Memphis Grizzlies, the Golden State Warriors, the Orlando Magic, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Phoenix Suns, the New Orleans Pelicans, the Philadelphia 76ers, and now the Detroit Pistons.

Ish Smith played 27 games for the New Orleans Pelicans last season, and averaged 8.9 points and 5.7 assists. He gained attention from a couple teams and then traded to Philadelphia, who he’d had a previous stint with in the 2014-2015 season. After being traded Smith went on to start 50 games for the 76ers, his most games starting for any ball club, in 2015-2016. Over the fifty game span Smith was great, averaging 14.7 points and 7.0 assists.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Philadelphia 76ers

Smith finally earned a name for himself as a guard in this league, and was set to be a free agent in the off season. His first major contract in six seasons as an NBA player, Ish signed a 3-year/$18-million dollar deal with the Detroit Pistons. The Pistons coaching staff has loved Smith, and at one point, even debated giving him the starting spot after Reggie Jackson started struggling. In February especially, we saw a dramatic contrast between the two guards:

Player: PPG: RPG: FG%: Net Rating:
Reggie Jackson 10.1 1.6 .374 -11.4
Ish Smith 9.3 3.2 .485 +17.7

Now, through 64 games and 21 starts, Smith has averaged: 8.3 points, 5.1 assists, and 2.8 rebounds a game, on 44% shooting. A true point guard, he has dished 7 assists in over 22 games this season. On February 23rd, in a win against the Charlotte Hornets, he set a new career high with 15 assists.

Ish Smith is a great point guard, and has certainly put in the work to get here. 27 years old now, he has donned a total of 12 different jerseys but never let it stop him. With enough time and effort in the right system, there’s no reason Ish couldn’t serve as a starting point guard in today’s NBA.

All stats and information provided by ESPN and Michigan Live, featured image provided by pistonpowered.com.

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