Ish Smith may have been the most cap-friendly signing from the 2016 Free Agency period. Signing a three-year deal with the Pistons early in July, Smith filled in admirably for the injured Reggie Jackson at the beginning of the season.
Smith had two roles for Detroit this year. He started the season as the starting point guard and ended the season as it. But, in the middle of the season, he came off the bench for Reggie Jackson.
Smith was masterful as a starter, outplaying his expectations by far. In the 32 games, he started throughout the season, Smith averaged 12.4 points and 6.3 assists in just 29 minutes. Amazingly, he committed just 1.5 turnovers per game as a starter.
Smith’s numbers took a dip when he moved to the bench, all across the board. He averaged 8.4 points and 4.7 assists on just 43 percent shooting. He was not a threat from deep either, as he shot just 21 percent from the three-point line in games he came off the bench in.
While he was never an efficient shooter, Smith was able to execute the offense well for Detroit. Smith did show a nice mid-range jumper. His most efficient shot on the court, besides his 56.8 shooting percentage from 0-3 feet to the basket, was between 10-16 feet, where he shot 49 percent from the field.
Smith finished the year shooting 43.9 percent from the field, 26.7 percent from three, and 70.6 percent from the free throw line. Smith is not going to hurt you shooting the ball, that isn’t his game. He is best used as a distributor and he did a good job doing that in his first season with the Pistons.
The Pistons have a very interesting point guard situation heading into next season. Stan Van Gundy has said the hope and plan is for Reggie Jackson to come back at full health and return to the form or play even better than he did two seasons ago. But, what if that doesn’t happen?
Smith is that safeguard for Detroit. While he isn’t a franchise point guard, he is reliable and can do the job. If Jackson struggles the same way he did this season, then Smith will likely get the call he did this year. Detroit also holds a lottery pick in this year’s draft. They will likely have the 12th pick, which may or may not be high enough for them to pick one of the top point guard prospects in the draft. Smith is their safest option at point guard heading into next season, but Detroit will see if Reggie Jackson can be the point guard they hoped for him to become.
The 2016-2017 season was a great year for Smith, and one he can only hope to build on heading into next season.
Featured image: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images