While Dwight Howard has dominated much of the NBA-related conversations this summer, free agents like Josh Smith are also high-impact players worth talking about. Oddly enough, Smith and Howard go back to their days as teenagers when the duo played AAU Basketball together. Given the high-school connection, the consensus was that Smith would head to the Houston Rockets immediately after Howard migrated south.
Well — that didn’t happen.
Instead, Smith is now a member of the Detroit Pistons. Since winning the NBA title in 2004, the Pistons have fought to stay over .500 and it hasn’t been pretty in the last couple of seasons. Contrary to popular opinion, throwing Smith a four-year deal worth $54 million isn’t going to bring them back to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Low on talent, the Pistons skipped out on the postseason in 2013 for the fourth straight season and won just 29 games in the process. Detroit could have done worse this summer — at least Smith is going to put fans in the seats and has been on the verge of being an All-Star for quite some time. Best case scenario for the Motor City is that Greg Monroe and Smith can combine in the frontcourt to reel in plenty of points and snag a surplus of rebounds as well.
Since breaking into the league as a power forward, Smith has spent the last six seasons as the Atlanta Hawks starting small forward. Bumping Smith to the power forward position once again makes the most sense and given the Pistons wide-open roster, the move back to SF is a very likely possibility for No. 5.