When news broke that the New York Knicks signed 7-foot center Jason Smith, many of you were probably thinking the same thing, ”Who the fuck is Jason Smith?” Most casual fans had no idea who he was… un-rightly so!
The former 20th overall pick in the 2007 draft initially played for the Philadelphia 76ers for his first two season before becoming a mainstay power forward/center for the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans. His career stat line is fairly decent, displaying 6.0 points, 3.5 rebounds, 0.7 blocks, in 16.7 minutes – all while shooting 47 percent from the field and 76 percent from the charity stripe. However, if you were to skew his stats to per 36 minutes, you’re looking at a man that sports a 12.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks stat-line.
1.5 blocks in 36 minutes. That’s what Phil Jackson was looking at when signing him to a one-year, $3.3 million contract. The Knicks need some front court depth and Smith can provide that. Here’s exactly what he can do defensively:
Offensively, Smith has a good mid-range shot. He is a lifetime 44 percent shooter from 16+ feet from the basket and a lifetime 64 percent shooter from inside-the-paint. Chances are, if he adapts to the triangle system well, he might be a key weapon that leads the Knicks to success this season. Plus, there might be a few times where he goes off, like this:
Unfortunately, his entire career has been marred by various injuries, including a torn left ACL which kept him out of the entire 2008-2009 season and a surgically removed cartilage in his right knee that knocked him out of 2013-2014 season. To show how hurt he has been, Smith has never played a full season in the N.B.A., with 77 games in 2010-2011 being his most, which is likely the reason he signed just a one-year deal with the Knicks.
With Jason Smith on the team, look for him to split the back-up center role with Cole Aldrich, all the while giving Samuel Dalembert a much needed breather. Smith will probably get about 18-20 minutes off the bench, early in the season, while possibly getting more as the season progresses. His mid-range jumper will cause headaches for defenders, especially in the triangle offense, and his hounding defense and exceptional rebounding prowess will definitely be beneficial for the team in the long run.
Welcome to the tape, Jason!