CRAWFORD | Russ Smith's latest? Scoring so much in China he's lowering the trade deficit
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Of all the things about sports that I do not understand – and there are many – this one might top the list: I don’t understand how there’s not a place in the NBA for Russ Smith.
I get it, he’s short and slight of build, 6 feet tall, 165 pounds. But he’s no shorter than some other guys making their mark. Like with other sports, there seems to be a template. If you’re 6-feet or under, you are expected to have a built like Jameer Nelson or Kemba Walker. Smith is more wiry.
He’s also unconventional, and that’s probably the key. He went to Turkey and his coach didn’t like him. He blasted him in the media, saying, “We are playing without point guards because our main point guard is terrible.”
It takes a coach with a certain vision, let’s say, to see Smith’s game and live with some of the things he does.
Of course, some of the things he does are other-worldly. He holds the NBA Developmental League single-game scoring record with 65 points. And he’s scoring so much to begin his career in China that he’s actually lowering the U.S. trade deficit. When compared to Smith’s scoring exploits, the Great Wall now is being called “the pretty good wall.”
Through five games, Smith is averaging 61 points, six rebounds, 4.4 steals and 3.6 assists.
He’s coming off an 81-point performance in which he made 10 three-pointers and 21 free throws. Nobody over there has held him under 40 points, yet.
Now, let’s not equate dominating a Chinese league with the elite level of the NBA. Yet look around the league here and tell me that he can’t contribute.
He’s played in 27 NBA games, 131 total minutes. It’s tough to get a read on such a small sample size, but in that short action he’s averaging 14.6 points per 36 minutes played, along with 4.1 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 2.2 steals.
I’m not saying he’s a star. Don’t misunderstand me. I am saying there ought to be a spot for him in the league somewhere.
“If he keeps doing his thing, somewhere along the way he’ll get his chance,” his father, Russ Smith Sr., told WDRB Sports at a recent camp in Louisville. “He believes that, and keeps working hard to show what he can do.”
In Louisville, we used to call Smith "Russdiculous." That nobody in the NBA seems to know a way to make use of him really is ridiculous.
Copyright 2017 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.