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The Rockets need Josh Smith

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He probably never should have left.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Smith returns to the Rockets, he actually probably never should have left. It wasn't really his choice, much like the Houston Texans and Andre Johnson, Smith left because he wouldn't have much a role with the Rockets, so J-Smoove decided to take less money to take his talents to L.A.

Now, a few months in on both sides, the Clippers don't need him — or can't fit him in — and the Rockets desperately need Smith back. And, yes, they do need him desperately.

Last season, when the Rockets were at the highest of highs, it was because Smith was a key part for this team. Smith's connection with Dwight Howard on an almost psychic level was amazing to watch. The alley-oops Smith fed Howard were almost too good to be true.

Smith has a short and poor-lived run with the starters when he first got to Houston. But that was quickly forgotten when he was moved to the bench and was able to have so much success.

Smith became part of the "Headband of Brothers" unit. When the Rockets starters didn't come out with the energy they needed, Kevin McHale would insert Corey Brewer, Jason Terry and Smith and the team's pace, energy and speed would pick up.

This year, the Rockets thought they didn't need Smith and he would play less, which in theory was true. With a fully healthy Terrence Jones and a fully healthy Donatas Motiejunas, they would have been right.

The problem has been D-Mo's injury setbacks. When he did ultimately come back, he was OK and getting better, but now there is no telling when he will be able to not only return, but return to the Motiejunas level that was supposed to be the starting power forward. Jones also fit into the plan to not keep Smith, but his up and down play has really hurt this year.

All-in-all, the Rockets need a stable force at power forward. If Smith returns to the bench, it could be a very dangerous unit, with Ty Lawson, Terry, Brewer, and Smith there would be few teams in the league that would be able to match their pace and offensive punch. It will be interesting to see how new head coach J.B. Bickerstaff decides to use Smith.