On March 14th, the Sioux Falls Skyforce announced that they had acquired Craig Smith, a six-year NBA veteran who had recently spent time overseas in Hong Kong and Israel. Once a member of the Timberwolves, Clippers and Trail Blazers, Smith holds career averages of 7.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game, but now finds himself with the Miami Heat's affiliate in pursuit of another shot in the NBA.
Despite not having gaudy career averages, Smith has always been a fan favorite wherever he's been. At 6-foot-7, he's undersized as a power forward, but makes up for it with brute strength and a nose for the ball. He always seems to be in the right place at the right time when he's on the court, and was even given the name "cookie monster" in college because of the way he gobbles up rebounds. Now with the Armor, he has the opportunity to not only remind NBA circles of his unique skill-set, but help a team that is getting ready for a long post-season run.
On Saturday night, Smith made his debut for the Skyforce. For most of the game, the Springfield Armor put the 7-foot Jeff Foote on him, which proved to be a match-up nightmare. Despite having huge size advantage, Foote was unable to keep up with Smith, who ran circles around him in the post. In the second half they tried to double Smith, but he calmly found him teammates with some pin-point passes that led to easy scoring opportunities. He only played 26 minutes, but he made a huge impact and the Skyforce walked away with an easy 124-109 victory.
After the game, Henry Walker had nothing but praise for his two new teammates, Craig Smith and Chris Allen, per Argus Leader:
"They’re pros. We were just out there playing off each other. I told them before the game to do what they do. They definitely helped."
However, the honeymoon period is now over. The Skyforce only have seven games to go before the regular season ends and the playoff race is closer that it has ever been. On Monday, they'll travel to Iowa and with a win, they'll take home the season series with a 5-3 lead. Lose it, however, and a higher playoff seed could be on the line.
The Skyforce couldn't have acquired a veteran like Smith at a better time, but they've got to hope that he'll fit in quickly so that they can make a late season push. But knowing his history, he'll have no problem.