June 29, 2018
PG - 6’0, 175lbs - 29 years old - 8 years of experience
After a journeyman career filled with stints at about 146 different employers, Smith has some career continuity now that he is with Detroit on a big (for him) contract. This year saw him fill the same role that he did last season, that role one of initially being slated as the primary back-up point guard, ultimately starting half the year when Reggie Jackson was out due to injury. And in that role, he returned much the same results.
Smith has never been an outside shooter. His small frame makes it difficult to shoot the ball that far that consistently, especially when faced against NBA defences. He did enjoy a slight uptick in his open three-point shooting this season, yet that uptick took him only to a mediocre percentage on a low volume. With this in mind, all units in which he plays start from an immediate spacing disadvantage. And when said units so often featured Andre Drummond as well, that meant fighting an offensive efficiency battle from two key spots immediately.
Nevertheless, in the right role, Smith is effective. Bring him in off the bench, tell him to run all day, to play as good of defence as he can, then flank him with shooters and at least one big that can finish, and see what good he can be. In the role he has been in in the past two seasons, Smith is overmatched, no matter how determined he is to overcome his deficiencies. In the right role, he is a strong player.
Player Plan: One year and $6 million remaining. Probably going to play it out but certainly a potential piece of salary matching in trades.
June 29, 2017
PG, 6’0, 175lbs, 28 years old, 7 years of experience
Although he should not be a starter, Smith did a decent job of trying to be one, posting only the second 100+ offensive rating season of his career and attacking the opponent despite some of the vastly one-sided match-ups he faced. A pleasant change of pace (literally, in the sense that he was the rare quick guy on a slow team; figuratively, in light of his style of play versus Jackson’s), Smith is only ever going to be a career backup, and a limited one until such day as the shot comes good, which it is starting to look like it never will. But as a speedster and aggressive defender – including 33 blocks this year! – Smith is in the right place, with a hopefully-not-prohibitive cost.
Player Plan: Two years at $6 million each remaining. Good price for a backup, and a decent backup he is; nevertheless, a veteran backup point guard is almost always going to be a trade chip where possible.
January 23, 2012
Ish Smith — Cut twice by NBA teams already this year, Smith is too small and flawed to ever be a rotation caliber player. But his blistering speed and full court game can always be useful as a change of pace off the bench.
January 10, 2011
In some additional related bookkeeping, the reason for many of the players listed in the previous list was due to the NBA's contract guarantee date. All players on NBA rosters on or after January 10th have their contracts guaranteed for the remainder of the season (future seasons are unaffected); this also includes waivers. In-season waivers are 48 hours long and do not include weekends; therefore, with the 10th of January being a Monday, players had to be waived by close of business on Wednesday 5th in order to have cleared waivers before the deadline date.
Eleven players with not fully guaranteed contracts were waived in the hours before that deadline: Steve Novak, Damien Wilkins, Jarron Collins, John Lucas III, Ime Udoka, Lester Hudson, Ronald Dupree, Brian Skinner, Pops Mensah-Bonsu, Sundiata Gaines and Rodney Carney. Twenty seven unguaranteed players survived; Delonte West, Von Wafer, Brian Scalabrine, Samardo Samuels, Manny Harris, Alonzo Gee, Brian Cardinal, Melvin Ely, Gary Forbes, Jeremy Lin, Ish Smith, A.J. Price, Ike Diogu, Luc Richard Mbah A Moute, Ben Uzoh, Didier Ilunga-Mbenga, Shawne Williams, Malik Allen, Garret Siler, Patty Mills, Sean Marks, Darnell Jackson, Chris Quinn, Sonny Weems, Jeremy Evans, Cartier Martin and Hamady Ndiaye. Players with contracts who had already become guaranteed due to specific guarantee stipulations in their contracts were Sherron Collins, Derrick Brown, Josh McRoberts, Willie Warren, Derrick Caracter, Luther Head and Joey Dorsey.
September 28, 2010
Smith is the only one with any guaranteed money; $50,000's worth, to be precise. This gives him the inside track on the roster spot. He's also probably got the inside track on the roster spot due to him being a point guard, and for all their depth, Houston only has two of those right now. Smith doesn't have NBA calibre size nor any kind of a jumpshot, but he makes some things happen on both ends of the court. And given that he's now free for a couple of weeks with that partial contract guarantee, he might stick around for a bit.
July 14, 2010
Ish Smith is awesome. Frighteningly quick with the ball, and the ultimate one man fast break, Smith is a dazzling open court player who can buy your offense 15 points a night just by getting to the basket before the opposing defense does. Mark Jackson is convinced Smith should have be drafted, and Mark Jackson knows this to be true because he saw Smith play once. (Once.) He won't be drafted, though, because he's just too damn small. Smith also can't shoot, which leaves you with a point guard who can only make floaters and open layups, and who can't defend his position. That's probably not getting it done.
Great fun, though.