Can Josh Smith fit in with the Los Angeles Clippers? That has become the question ever since Smith joined the Clippers earlier this month. The 29-year-old NBA veteran is once again the latest addition to a team that has championship aspirations. As far as his role is concerned, Smith will be expected to contribute while coming off the bench for L.A.
Smith joins a team with a deep roster that includes Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Paul Pierce, DeAndre Jordan and Lance Stephenson. Because Smith had to embrace his role as a reserve player for the Houston Rockets last season, his new situation in L.A. should not be difficult for him to adjust to.
Last season, Smith was productive playing alongside James Harden and Dwight Howard. He even started some games for the Rockets during the playoffs. With Smith doing his part, the Rockets fought their way to the Western Conference Finals. Although they would not make it to the NBA Finals, the Rockets did what they did without being anywhere near as deep as the Clippers are now.
Smith was a solid defender in Houston, according to Kelly Dwyer of Yahoo Sports. He also improved his mid-range game and made more points in the paint. Even his shot selection from beyond the arc got better.
On the other hand, Smith often lost control of the ball, which led to an increase in turnovers. If he can decrease his turnover ratio and maintain progress in all other areas, he will be a useful option off the bench for head coach Doc Rivers.
More than likely, Smith will not be asked to do as much in L.A. as he did in Houston. His time with the Rockets did at least give him the opportunity to show that he could in fact be an effective role player. As long as he has the right talent around him, he should be able to continue to look as impressive next season as he did in Houston last season.
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