More on Greg Smith

Yesterday, Ming Wang penned this fabulous piece on Greg Smith, articulating the big man’s progress this year.  On one point, however, I disagree:

While Smith lacks even a rudimentary post-game or a spot up jumper, the ability to score as a roll man can pay huge dividends for a team offensively (see Tyson Chandler on the Knicks).

I had actually planned to write on the very topic of Smith’s offensive repertoire last week after noticing a few things during a particular home game, but never got around to it.  On one night–my memory on these things really escapes me these days–I distinctly recall Smith facing up his man a few feet out from the basket, turning, and then nailing a turnaround.  Later in the same game, he caught it in the post and delivered a baby hook over his left shoulder.

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Against a Philadelphia 76ers team known for its defense, the Houston Rockets had one of their highest scoring affairs of the season, and did so in a spectacularly efficient manner. Only two players, Chandler Parsons and Carlos Delfino, shot less than 50% from the field, and Houston’s starting backcourt of Harden and Lin had a viciously efficient night of beardsanity. Tonight, maybe it’s efficiensanity.

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In Greg Smith, Rockets Find Another Hidden Gem

Greg Smith, a previously unheralded and undrafted second-year player out of Fresno State, entered the realm of NBA relevance with a crucial role in Houston’s 107-105 win over the Lakers on December 4th. In 24 minutes of action that included much of a tight fourth quarter, Smith took over Asik’s role as the roll man in the Rockets’ pick-and-roll attack, racking up a career-high 21 points on 7-8 shooting and 7-8 from the line. Since then, despite not necessarily garnering a larger role (Smith is playing slightly more than his season average of 14 minutes in recent games), Smith has been sneakily efficient: he is in the top 20 in PER at 22.3, tied with likely NBA All-Stars Chris Bosh and Anderson Varejao. While he is unlikely to maintain that level of efficiency throughout an entire season, Rockets fans should be excited that their team has a young big man who can contribute on both ends of the floor- a relatively rare commodity in today’s NBA.

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Preview: Sixers @ Rockets

Fresh off a high profile game that will have them a much needed confidence boost, the Rockets head home to take on a struggling 76ers team. Like Houston’s previous opponents, Philadelphia have been missing their two best players: Jrue Holiday (sprained right foot) and of course Andrew Bynum (bowling ball to knee). The 76ers are currently saddled with a 4 game losing streak, the most recent of which was last night against Dallas. Bearing in mind the injury situation and the schedule, it’s a pretty good time to be hosting this particular matchup. The Rockets need to capitalise on home games while they have them because their home-heavy early schedule is running out – between Christmas Day and the end of January they will play 15 of their 22 games on the road.

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Before anything is discussed, it should be remembered that Carmelo Anthony sat out tonight with an injured left ankle.  To earn a win, even a blowout win which was over by the nine-minute mark, against a team who started Raymond Felton, Jason Kidd, Ronnie Brewer, Chris Copeland (whom I had never heard of before tonight, but was absolutely fantastic both during the game and garbage time with 29 points ), and Tyson Chandler is hardly a tremendous accomplishment.

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