Ish Smith Season Preview
Hello good and beautiful people! This is the 6th preview of the upcoming season, with the starters all set Ish is the first member of the bench.
Where he stands now:
Ish is a new addition to the Pistons, coming in after spending last season with the Sixers. He signed a 3 year $18 million deal, which he is obviously just starting. Ish is solidly in place as the backup point guard, and barring injuries he will not move into another spot. Ish is 28 and will be for the entire season.
What to generally expect from this year:
There is not much question as to what his role will be, once again, he is firmly in as the backup point guard as he has no chance to overtake Reggie Jackson as the starter, and should face very little competition for minutes from whoever ends up winning the 3rd PG spot. There is supposedly a chance that Ish will occasionally be used alongside Reggie Jackson. He will be the primary ball handler with the bench mob and will be asked to initiate most of the offense.
Ish will be the head of the bench mob snake. He will have the ball in his hands more often than not and will be the primary facilitator. He will do really well in that role since whoever is playing center (any of the 3) they are solid in the pick and roll, and Ish is a great pick and roll ball handler. Expect him and Baynes/Drummond to show really good chemistry out of the pick and roll.
One of the big questions regarding Ish is how he will shoot, he has generally been a poor shooter in his career, but at times he has approached decent, and in theory he will be asked to play off the ball a bit more than he did with the Sixers since Stanley Johnson figures to get some time as lead ball handler as well as the supposed 2 point guard lineup that SVG wants to try. People are going to sag off him no matter what, (both when he does and doesn't have the ball) and he has to hit enough shots to at least hurt teams a bit when they sag off so far. And to piggy back onto that thought, Ish is just generally not a very efficient scorer from anywhere. He makes it work because he is a good passer, but hopefully he will be able to put in buckets at a better rate with more competent teammates and better spacing than he has had at his last few stops. Once again, he needs to score enough and with enough efficiency that he can take advantage of the holes that the defense presents to him.
Essentially Ish should do largely what Jennings did in his stint last year. Push the pace and be a creator for others more than for himself, and hopefully put in just enough buckets on his own to keep opposing defenses honest.
Not a ton to say about Ish's defense, he isn't much good. He is tiny even compared to most point guards and he is not exactly a hard nosed defender either. On the plus side though, he is still super fast and generally does a good job of not getting lost on defense so he can get occasional steals and generally disrupt things a bit. Because he is a point guard he should not hurt the defense much, but he certainly won't do much to help either. And he is far enough along in his career that he is not about to have some defensive epiphany.
Literally everyone who has come into contact with Ish has said he is an absolutely wonderful guy to be around, and guys love to play with him because of his passing and running at every opportunity. Marcus Morris even called him “The best backup PG in the NBA” so there is that. It is a pattern of the guys that SVG brings in, and Ish is yet another high character guy that is on the team and he plays hard every night.
So in conclusion...
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Ish is shooting over 30% from 3.
The Pistons bench mob is one of the fastest pace lineups in basketball.
The bench leads the NBA in smiles and smacked asses per 36.
Ish manages to be a more efficient scorer with the extra space provided by playing for an actual NBA team.
Run for the hills if:
25% from 3.
His TS% is below 45%.
Ish's defense is enough of a problem that they can't use the dual PG lineup.
The bench mob doesn't handle the pace so well, and SVG has to make Ish slow down so the other guys can keep up.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Ish shoots exactly 31% from 3.
The bench runs like hell and is actually really good.
Ish has the most efficient season of his career.
What do you think? How will Ish do? Let me know! We all get smarter!