After being absent from the playoffs for nearly four consecutive seasons, the Detroit Pistons finally have a chance of returning to the NBA postseason. As the all-star break approaches, the team vies with the Charlotte Bobcats and New York Knicks for that coveted eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. A playoff berth would provide a second wind to the teams’ tiring fan base.
To whom do the Pistons owe this honor? Perhaps to Josh Smith, the new addition to the team, or perhaps not.
According to ESPN, Josh Smith was third in line on Dumars’ list of desirable free agents after Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. Though second-year center Andre Drummond seems to be doing a more than adequate job filling in for what Howard could have been, the team is still struggling.
The Smith signing cost the Pistons $54 million long term. That large quantity of money marks the 28-year-old small forward as the highest paid player on the team by far. His salary is about $4.9 million higher than Charlie Villanueva’s, who is the second highest paid player. Eleven players on the team including Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe are paid less than half of what Smith receives.
In the Smith signing, Detroit has received a nine year veteran who is currently averaging a career-worst field goal percentage as well as average amount of points per game since his second season in the league. Smith possesses the eighth lowest field goal percentage on the team.
The only category in which Smith leads the team is in steals. In short, though Smith may have an important role on the team, he is not worth the large amount of money his contract is taking up on the team’s salary cap.
Colin Jackson is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.