During his two seasons with Los Angeles, Smith averaged a solid 11 points and 11 rebounds a game but made his greatest contributions on defense.
In his first season with the Lakers, Smith led the league in blocks, averaging nearly five a game. He had 17 blocks in a game against Portland in 1973, a mark that still stands as the NBA record. (It should be noted that the 1973-74 season was the first that blocked shots were officially recorded. We cool, Bill Russell?)
Smith provided the Lakers with a bridge between two of the team's iconic big men. Not only did he take over as the team’s starting center when Wilt Chamberlain retired but, along with Junior Bridgeman, Dave Meyers and Brian Winters, Smith was one of four Lakers traded to Milwaukee in exchange for Kareem Abdul Jabbar in 1975.
Feb. 12, 2011