Slaughter is in France, playing for Nancy. France is a good place to go if you’re an athletic 6’8 power forward, and Slaughter is producing, averaging 13.3 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals in only 23 minutes per game. He is shooting 64% from the field and 71% from the line, putting up a massive PER of 25.9.
Nancy also have forward Louisville forward Ricardo Greer, who is one of the best players in the country. Greer is ninth in the league in points (15.9 ppg), fourth in rebounds (8.9 rpg), fourth in assists (6.1 apg) and fifth in steals (1.9 spg). Of all the people we’ve covered in this 61-instalment list – which is about 650 players in total so far – I can’t think of another that has ranked in any four of the big five categories. Ricardo’s brother Jeff also plays there, but he averages a comparatively paltry 12/4/2.
Former NBA finalist Slay spent the two previous seasons in Italy, playing first for Pierrel Capo d’Orlando (who went bankrupt during Slay’s only season there) and then for Air Avellino. He got injured early last season and managed only a few games; to get new work in Italy this year, Slay had to drop down to Lega Due. But despite the lesser standard and the lesser money, it’s been a successful move. Slay has been healthy for most of the year and has averaged 19.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.0 steals in 26 games for Carmatic Pistoia. He has shot 50% from the field, 38% from three and 80% from the line, doing whatever it takes to help his team win. Gamer.
Slokar started the season with Union Olimpia Ljubljana, a EuroLeague team. He averaged 6.2 points, 3.2 rebounds, 2.9 fouls and 10% three-point shooting for them in the EuroLeague, alongside 8.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.7 fouls and 43% 3PT FG in the Adriatic League. However, Ljubljana failed to make it out of the first group stage of the EuroLeague, and even though they currently lead the Slovenian league (which is no huge achievement really; there’s a team with an 0-31 record in there) and made it to the Adriatic League semi-finals (where Cibona Zagreb knocked them out yesterday), they’ve run out of money. This has meant the loss of almost all of their senior players. Matt Walsh left for Greece (acrimoniously, but more on that later). Sani Becirovic went to Italy. Gaspar Vidmar went to Turkey. Dante and Galante’s favourite Vladimir Golubovic went to Spain. And Slokar joined the exodus, leaving in February to join the best team in Italy, Montepaschi Siena.
Why Siena thought they needed Slokar is not immediately obvious, as Shawn Stonerook, Ben Eze, Ksistof Lavrinovic, Denis Marconato and Tomas Ress were more than getting it done without him. This might explain why Slokar has played only 33 minutes in two months with the team, totalling 18 points and 9 rebounds.
Spider Smith was in the NBA for two years, then out of it for two years, then back in it for two years, then out of it for two years, then back in it for one, then out of it for four. He last played in the NBA in the 2005-06 season, playing 22 games with the Blazers and playing one game with the Nuggets after a midseason trade.
In between all the stops in the NBA, Smith has played most of his time in Italy, and has been a huge scorer over there. He led Serie A in scoring on two occasions, and was also a 20 ppg scorer in the EuroLeague at one time. Nonetheless, Smith kept turning down European stardom for NBA minimum salary contracts, trying to stick in America in preference to the money and fame of being one of Europe’s better scorers. It never really worked out, as the multi-year contract always eluded him, but it wasn’t a failure. Playing bit parts of five NBA seasons is not easy to do.
Smith spent two seasons between 2006 and 2008 with Real Madrid, and then joined Turkish powerhouse Efes Pilsen. In his second season there, Smith averaged 12.1 points and 2.9 rebounds in Turkish league play, alongside 12.6 points and 2.0 rebounds. Here is a video clip of Spider trying to shatter Graham Thorpe’s fifteen-year-old record for the most uses of the throwaway phrase “y’know” in a 25 second interview. I counted eleven. That’s not bad, y’know.
Former Virginia forward Devin Smith is a personal favourite, which is why we’re going to talk about him. Smith has never sniffed the NBA, save for a summer league spot with the Sixers in 2006, but he’s made a good career for himself. Playing for Panellinios in Greece – who got all the way to the EuroCup semi-finals this year – Smith has averaged 15.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in 27 minutes per game in the EuroCup, alongside 13.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in the Greek league. He’s also playing good if unathletic defence (which suits Greece rather well), can be a mismatch in the post, and shot 41% from three in the EuroCup. Quentin Richardson plays in much the same way and he starts for the Heat. Although that’s more of an indictment of the rest of their small forwards.
In 2008-09, Smith started out with Shanxi in China, and was beasting. He averaged roughly 23/6/5/3 in 15 games, but left to go to Australia, where he was the sixth man for the NBL Champion Adelaide 36ers. He then moved to Puerto Rico, but was kicked out of the league after testing positive for marijuana. This season, Smith initially returned to Shanxi to average this amount, but left after only seven games. And rather than return to Puerto Rico, Smith decided to spend this summer in Venezuela instead, playing for Marinos de Anzoategui. He is averaging 29 minutes, 15.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.9 rebounds, 2.1 steals and 0.8 blocks per game, shooting 50% from the field and 35% from three-point range.
J-Smoove spent the 2004-05 season with the Nets, taking quite a lot of fall-away 18-footers for a top-heavy New Jersey team that gave 2,900 minutes to the elusive Travis Best/Jacque Vaughn two-headed monster. But then it gets tricky. In January 2006, Jabari Smith played in Turkey for two weeks; in 2006/07, he didn’t play at all. Smith spent part of the 2007-08 season in Iran (which must have been a tough gig for an American citizen at the time), and played in Puerto Rico last summer, but the post-NBA work has been neither easy to get nor easy for me to find.
This season, Smith started with a try-out in Syria with Al Jeleppo, but soon left. (As an aside, Al Jeleppo tried out a lot of ex-NBA players this season, and last week settled upon Andre Brown.) He then signed in Mexico in February to play the last few games of the LNBP season, and averaged 7.8 points and 3.9 rebounds in 21 minutes per game for Pioneros de Quintana Roo. As was somewhat predictable considering his earlier predilection for 18-footers, Smith is now a three-point shooter, taking 48 of them for Roo as opposed to only 29 two-pointers. He shot 46% from downtown.
Last year, Tennessee graduate JaJuan Smith took a hot shooting performance in summer league and turned it into a training camp contract with the Dallas Mavericks. Unfortunately, since that time, he hasn’t been able to do much with it. Smith started the 2008-09 season with Union Olimpija (see above), but left before playing a game, saw out the year in France, and then started this year in Brazil with Pitagoras/Minas Tenis Clube as the replacement for Joe Shipp. He then played one random game for a LEB Silver team called Beirasar Rosalia. Smith left there after his 9-minute 3-point performance and returned to America, where he caught on with the Tulsa 66ers of the D-League for the last four regular season games of the season and the playoffs. Unfortunately, his shot was off, and Smith totalled 48 points, 48 shots, 21 assists and 21 fouls in his eight total outings.
This Jamar Smith – the former Maryland forward, Austin Toros starter and San Antonio Spurs training camp signee in 2006 – is signed in Italy with Trenkwalder Reggio Emilia. He is averaging 13.8 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, but in only Lega Due play.
The other Jamar Smith – the former Illinois guard who was suspended for a year and a half after driving into a tree while drunk and fleeing the scene leaving his teammate for dead, and who was then kicked out of the program after being caught underage drinking again and violating his probation – got a second chance at Division II Southern Illinois. He averaged 21.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg and 4.6 apg there last year – all while playing with an electronic ankle bracelet – and earned an invite to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament last month. However, he averaged only 5.6 points in three games there.
Idaho Stampede guard Lanny Smith got a camp invite with the Sacramento Kings this summer, but had no chance to make the team. Upon being waived, he returned to the Stampede, and averaged 8.3 points and 5.9 assists in the team’s first 16 games. However, as has been the case for most of his career, Smith got injured, tearing the cartilage in his left knee and missing the rest of the season.
Smith last played in the 2004-05 season, where he started with the Bobcats before being traded to Miami in exchange for Malik Allen. I had forgotten that trade ever happened. Smith retired after that season aged 36, and became the Hawks’ colour announcer. He has since moved to become an NBA TV analyst.
Steve’s namesake Steven was averaging 18.3 points per game in Greece last year before going down with an injury. The injury shelved him for almost a year, but he reappeared on the scene this January when he signed with Israeli team Ironi Nahariya. He is averaging 17.5 points and 7.7 rebounds per game for the team, ranking seventh in the league in scoring and sixth in rebounding, as well as shooting 44% from three-point range.
Charlize averaged 24/10/5 for Tianjin in China last year, but didn’t play there this season. He started this year in Australia when he signed with the Perth Wildcats (or at least, he may have done; reports conflict), but never played a game for the team. In January he moved to Italy to play for a team called Associazione Basket Latina, and while my Italian is not very good, I’m pretty sure that translates as “Latin Basketball Association.” It’s not quite Fash Liquid Detergent, but it’s still a great team name. Smith is averaging 10.4 points and 9.5 rebounds in 10 games for the team.