Joe Smith


2010-11 (#1) 12 0.5 1.5

Forward, #1


The 6-10 forward seemed like a franchise player — after all, he was the college player of the year at Maryland — when the Warriors made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft.

In his first couple years with the Warriors, Smith looked like an offensive force. He made the NBA All-Rookie team in 1995-96, averaging 15.3 points and 8.7 boards, and his game kept maturing in his second season, with 18.7 and 8.5.

However, Smith said he wouldn’t sign a long-term deal unless the Warriors improved and in February 1998, he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. For Smith that marked the turning point when his career began a long, slow descent.

He became an NBA journeyman, and seemed to play for every team in the league.

From Philadelphia, he then went to Minnesota, Detroit, back to Minnesota, followed by Milwaukee, Denver, back to Philadelphia, Chicago, Cleveland, Oklahoma City, a return to Cleveland, Atlanta, then New Jersey.

Along the way he pocketed about $61 million in salary, but never came close to being on a championship team.

Then, in December 2010, he was traded to the Lakers as part of a three-team deal as they parted with Sasha Vujacic. Smith, 35, was seen as a veteran who could provide a few minutes of playing time in the frontcourt.

He appeared in 12 games off the bench, averaging less than four minutes a game.

— Barry Stavro
Aug. 8, 2011