With the completion of the three team trade on Wednesday, the Lakers acquired power forward Joe Smith from New Jersey and parted ways with 7 year Laker Sasha Vujacic who went the other way to the Nets.
Joe Smith, for the most part, has had a non-descript and uneventful career. He was a skinny 19 year old project out of Maryland when the Golden State Warriors made him the #1 overall pick in the 1995 draft. Unfortunately for the Warriors, he never quite lived up to the expectations that come with being picked #1 overall and was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves two years later.
After his short stint with Golden State Joe went on to play for 11 other teams, never having a tenure of more than 3 years with any one them. Joe never put together a season of note after leaving Golden State as he never averaged more than 13.7 points per game or 8.2 rebounds per game or 1.5 blocks per game.
As his numbers show, he understandably never made an NBA All Star team, nor was he ever a part of a championship team.
He has been good enough to hang around 15 years in the NBA, but not valuable enough to make him indispensable to any one team.
I remember Joe Smith most for a game back in 1996 when he played for the Warriors and almost got juked out of his shoes by one of Magic Johnson’s ball fakes in what was Magic’s first game back since retiring in 1991. That particular play was the Laker fans’ first sight at one of Magic’s signature moves and completely electrified the Forum crowd which had been on edge in anticipation up to that point.
- Fernando Rea