Joe Smith was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in a mid-December trade that sent former Laker Sasha Vujacic to the New Jersey Nets. The trade was conducted primarily in effort to clear cap space by shedding Vujacic’s bulky contract, but also to obtain a backup center for the coaching staff to utilize in case of an injury.
Smith was not expected to see much playing time with the two-time defending champions, and was inserted into the game during blowouts. In the 2010-2011 NBA regular season, Smith appeared in 12 games and averaged nearly four minutes per contest. The initial objective was to play Smith whenever Gasol or Bynum needed a break, but the Lakers’ depth up front unfortunately left him on the bench.
Joe Smith was once a highly decorated draft pick, as he was selected number one overall in the 1995 NBA Draft. However, his days of providing excitment and intimidating opponents are long gone, and he will likely never become a starter on a NBA team again.
Smith did play in perhaps the last game that Phil Jackson coaches, so it will always be a story to tell his grandchildren. His time with the Lakers may come to an end very soon, after playing for 13 different NBA teams, and his road to another franchise might as well begin.
Just like Theo Ratliff, Joe Smith’s lack of productivity has resulted in an F on his report card. Smith did not play much for the Lakers, be he definitely loved his courtside seats watching Kobe Bryant and Co. take on the best players in the NBA.
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