I’ve always thought Boston College product Craig Smith (6’7ish) was the perfect player to have on your bench for inside scoring punch, sort of like a Corliss Williamson type guy. I remember watching Craig team up with Jared Dudley back when BC was a top 15 program. Smith was a beast back then and for the most part he still is today.
While Craig has played on two crap teams so far in four seasons in the league, he’s put up very solid numbers.
His rookie season in Minnesota he averaged over five rebounds and seven points (53%fg) in almost 19 minutes of action (82 games). Next two seasons, also with Minny, he averaged nine and ten points respectively in around 20 minutes per game.
This season with the Clippers there’s been a bit of a drop off in playing time and production. That’s a little concerning considering Blake Griffin has been out the enture season with injury. But, you know, Mike Dunleavy is the coach, so, whatever. Yet by looking at Smith’s game log there’s been a spike in his minutes recently, and coincidently production has soared: Six double digit scoring efforts out of the last eight games… including 6/10, 8/10, 9/14 and 6/8 from the floor. In fact he’s been at or over 50% from the floor in each of the last eight games while playing near or far over 20 minutes per game.
Hardwood Paroxysm had a nice piece about Craig today. Here’s a little bit of it…
Without further ado it’s time to educate. Craig Smith is the most offensively gifted reserve forward in the league (apologies to Carl Landry who plays nearly twice as much). His collection of scoring tactics are a grocery list that would make William Perry jealous. When the ball is in his hands and the basket is within 10 feet, there is nobody who one on one can shut him down.
It’s funny how the draft works though. For a player to carve his own niche in the NBA it seems like he’s got to dig through a brick wall with a plastic spoon. Despite what he displayed in college, players with weaker resumes like Tyrus Thomas and Josh Boone were taken above him strictly based on what they might grow to become.
The other players who were selected before Smith simply because he was projected to be too small for the four and too slow for the three is rather astounding. He’s played in more games than LaMarcus Aldridge and Andrea Bargnani, has scored more points than J.J. Redick and Adam Morrison combined and has the number one field goal percentage in his entire draft class.
Craig would be a great addition to the front court next season and would be relatively cheap (I’m certain he’d like to vacate Clipperland). He plays hard and actually has a repertoire of post moves unlike any of our other ‘bigs’. He also rebounds pretty well for his size. Sure, the defense is lacking because he’s not quick enough to guard threes and not tall enough to guard most fours, but on offense his quickness and bulk for his size are a problem for most players.
Please look into it, Joe.