Josh Smith is about to join a list of active players that is very, very short. Only two other current players have done it. If he plays in the final nine games for the Rockets, he’ll become just the third active player to play in 83 games during a regular season. (Ramon Sessions and Jarrett Jack are the others).
But much more important numbers are worth discussing for Smith, who joined the Rockets just after Christmas. He’s playing the fewest minutes per game of his entire 11-year NBA career (25.5 minutes per game), but he’s shooting 45 percent from the floor. That is just below the 46.5 percent he shot in his nine seasons with Atlanta. It’s well above the 41.3 percent he shot in 105 games with Detroit prior to joining Houston.
Smith had never attempted more than 3.5 3-pointers per 36 minutes in his first ten NBA seasons. With Houston, he’s launching 4.7 3-pointers in every 36 minutes he plays. He’s also connecting on the highest percentage of his career at 34.6 percent, while his career mark on 3-pointers was 27.8 percent before joining Houston.
His true shooting percentage with Houston is 50.8 percent. That’s the highest it has been since 2010-11, when he was a 25-year old in his seventh season in Atlanta. The following season, 41.2 percent of his shots were mid-range jumpers (shots beyond 10 feet, but in front of the 3-point line. That’s the largest percentage of his shots in his career that were mid-range shots. This season with Houston 10.9 percent of his field goal attempt are mid-range shots, by far the lowest percentage of his career.
For the first time in his career, he is not playing the small forward position at all. Last season, his first in Detroit, he played small forward 56 percent of the time, the highest percentage of time spent there since his third season in the league. Few would argue against the fact that his season in Detroit was his least successful and productive.
His 3.6 turnovers per 36 minutes are also a career high or career worst.
* data from BasketballReference.com