Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Joe Smith Returns to Cleveland

As expected, Joe Smith (1993-95) is back with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the rest of the season. Joe signed a 1 year deal with the Cavs after being released from the Oklahoma City Thunder over the weekend and clearing waivers.
The 6-10, 14-year pro will provide the Cavs with some needed big-man depth. A solid defender who is also an effective midrange shooter, Smith will help fill the hole Ben Wallace left when he broke his leg last week.

When Wallace returns, which could be in as little as three weeks, Smith will give the Cavs more experience in their big-man rotation.

Several teams reportedly showed interest in Smith, including the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Hornets. thinks Smith makes the Cavaliers a dangerous team for the playoffs:

With Anderson Varejao replacing Wallace in the starting lineup, Smith would also give the Cavs' second unit an offensive boost. "The [J.J.] Hickson kid is nice, but he's a rookie," the scout said. "When the playoffs come around, Smith has been there and one thing they didn't have is a guy to bring consistency on offense."

Smith, who can hit the mid-range jumper, could be used much like the Cavs use Zydrunas Ilgauskas to set screens at the top of the key or on the wing in their new motion offense.

"Smith isn't as good as [Antonio] McDyess in Detroit," the scout said, "but you have to box him out and he'll make you pay if you don't rotate on defense. You can't leave him wide open."

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