The Clippers and Craig Smith agreed to a one-year deal last month that will bring the forward back for his 5th NBA season, his second with the Clippers.
This is good news for Clippers fan as the aptly-monikered “Rhino” is a fan favorite who is a solid asset who contributes a physical presence on the team’s bench and showed an ability to guard opponents’ forwards (and centers on occasion) with a physical style.
Smith averaged just under 9 points per game while backing up Marcus Camby and Drew Gooden last season.
I was surprised to see that Rhino averaged less than 4 rebounds per game in just over 16 minutes per with the Clippers last year, but that’s what the stats say. It’s a trite cliche to say that Smith “does things that don’t show up in the stat sheet” but if there is anyone on the current roster who will do those things, it’s certainly Smith.
The bottom line is that Smith is a valuable asset for the Clippers: a role player who knows his limits and has proven his ability to provide depth and muscle to a team in need of both. Smith’s value extends beyond his physical play; he is another guy who brings continuity to the team and one who can help to push rookie Blake Griffin and teach him some of the technique that have contributed to Smith’s long stay in the league.