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Smith gives needed experience

BY MIKE BALDWIN Published: October 7, 2008
The former consensus national College player of the Year from Maryland still averaged 10.1 points and 5.2 rebounds last season with the Cavaliers and Bulls.

Smith has only one year left on his contract, but this isn’t his last hurrah. He’s only 33. Despite a toe injury early in camp, Smith said he feels good enough he might play three or four more seasons.

"I’ve lost some height in my jump and a little speed,” Smith said. "What you gain is a lot of court sense. That’s what I try to use against younger guys. They might be a little quicker or jump a little higher. At the same time I understand what it takes to get a rebound or be successful.”

This is Smith’s ninth organization. The franchise won only 20 games last season and most veterans would likely prefer to play for a playoff contender. Smith smiled when asked if it will be difficult to play on a team that is rebuilding.

"I was talking with a friend of mine after one of our practices,” Smith said. "I told him, ‘Don’t sleep on us. I think we’re going to be a lot better than what people expect.’ That’s something I’m very considerate with. I mean it. I’m not just saying that. I’m looking forward to having a lot of fun here this season.”

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Second go-round
P.J. Carlesimo coached Joe Smith a decade ago when both were with the Golden State Warriors.

Here’s how Carlesimo breaks down Smith’s game:

→"Gets up and down the floor. Can still make a living inside. Little jump hook with either hand. Good shooter. Rebounds. Blocks shots. Stretches the floor. Can hit elbow jump shots (near free-throw line) or deeper. Knowledgeable player. Can put it on the floor a little. Can’t say ‘He’s a back-to-the-basket player and that’s all he can do.’

→"Gives you a little bit of post-up and a little beat-you off-the-dribble. Can pass or shoot it from up top. Stretches out a big (center). Good defender. Uses length well. Not physical but can make a living inside. Not overpowering with strength. More of a finesse player. Great teammate. Good for chemistry.”

By Mike Baldwin


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