Hello, My Name is Ishmael

This morning the Pistons agreed to a three-year contact with 76ers point guard Ish Smith. This was a bit of an under the radar signing for Detroit as Smith was not one of the more talked about potential signings. However, that’s not to say he wasn’t a very good option. Here are a few of the things you’ll want to know about the newest Piston before he takes the floor.

Smith is a creator offensively. He drives to the paint and can finish among bigger defenders. Now I really do want to under sell this, Ish Smith lives around the paint offensively. He can get pass his defender as well, if not better, than anyone on the Pistons roster. This sets up everything else he does on the floor.

With his ability to drive the lane, Smith sets up his teammates for open shots. He has a good ability to find his teammates in the paint when help side defenders role over to help cut of Smith. This means more easy dunks for guys like Andre Drummond. He also helps create space on the perimeter when defenders have to sag off their man to help contain Smith. This makes Ish the perfect fit to come off the bench and set up his teammates to succeed.

Smith doesn’t only help his teammates by drawing the defenses attention, but he also has the vision to find the open man. He game revolves around driving to the paint and kicking the ball out to the perimeter if the defense keys in on him. He’s also very good in transition. Again, he can drive and kick or he can navigate the chaos to get an open look for a teammate. Create and distribute, that’s what Smith is offensively.

Looking at the defensive side of the ball, Smith is someone who’s very active. He averages almost a steal per game for his career (0.7) despite only averaging 16 minutes per game. What I know coach Van Gundy loves about him is his effort. Even when Smith bits on a shot fake and leaves his feet he will scramble to get into position to try to make the next play. This makes Smith a good defensive point guard off the bench. In fact, Smith’s steal to turnover ratio was better than both Russell Westbrook and John Wall. Not too bad for the Pistons back up.

Now for the things Smith struggles with. He’s not a particularly good shooter, only 40% from the field and 30% from the three-point line in his career. He’s also a pretty poor free throw shooter at just 64% for his career. Smith is not the shooter a team wants to space the floor, but his other skills still give him good value off the Pistons bench.

If you were a Steve Blake fan then you probably won’t like this signing because Ish Smith couldn’t be a more different point guard. He’s a creator, a facilitator, and hustle defender who will bring energy of the bench in everything that he does. It’s always good to bring in another teams starter as your backup, even if that other team is Philadelphia. Now Detroit has their backup point guard for the foreseeable future and will enter 2017 more talented and deeper than 2016 when their playoff run came to an end.

Featured image via: USA Today Sports

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