The Houston Rockets go to Detroit to take on the Pistons tonight, and all eyes will be on Josh Smith.
Smith is playing fewer minutes for the Rockets, but he's playing demonstrably better, scoring 1.5 more points per 36 minutes, shooting 5.2 percent better, grabbing the same amount of rebounds and actually playing within the offense. His turnovers are up and his assists are down, which is a little troubling, but the Rockets are winning. The Pistons never did with Smoove in tow.
Brandon Jennings is out for the year, so the people who said Smith's departure is the cause of the Pistons becoming a surprisingly good team will not go away, even as the Pistons come crashing to earth. In truth, Joe Dumars should have never offered 4 years,and $54 million for Smith. It's not Smith's fault he was overpriced.
Smith used to be one of the NBA's premier 5-by-5 threats- five each of points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. Far rarer than a triple-double, the 5-by-5 would be my dream revenge game, but he would have to play more minutes than he ever has. Instead, I just want him to stay within himself and let the Rockets' superior talent overwhelm the Pistons.