It has been reported in many places that Joe Smith has signed with the Hawks. According to esteemed colleague and soon-to-be mayor of Smyrna Sekou Smith, Joe Smith hasn’t yet. It wouldn’t bother me if he doesn’t.
Because Joe Smith, at this stage of his career, is just another guy named Smith. (Not that guys named Smith can’t be big-time players. Josh Smith is. And not that a guy named Smith can’t be the best beat writer in the NBA. Sekou is.)
But Joe Smith is 34 and has already played for nine different teams. Last season he played for a bad team (Oklahoma City) and averaged 6.6 points and 4.6 rebounds and then went to a good one (Cleveland) and averaged 6.5 and 4.7.
And for all of you who are shouting, “But he’s a big man! The Hawks need a big man!” … he’s big only in theory. He’s a power forward. He shoots little jump shots. He’s no taller than Al Horford and considerably skinnier. Not to mention 11 years older.
At best, Smith is a 10-to-12 minute guy who can man a position without disgracing himself, but I don’t know that the current Joe Smith is any upgrade on the departed Solomon Jones. He’s a lot bigger name — yes, Smith is a bigger name than Jones — because he played at Maryland and was the first player drafted in 1995. But Smith isn’t an answer to any lingering Hawks questions. (He didn’t exactly shut down Dwight Howard in the Eastern Conference finals, did he?)
It has been suggested on AOL Fanhouse that Smith will help the Hawks gain on the NBA East’s Big Three. It won’t. If he does land here, he’ll be the ninth man. You know what the Hawks’ ninth man will be? He’ll be the guy Mike Woodson decides isn’t reliable enough to give serious minutes.