After just five games with Rockets, Josh Smith is removed from starting lineup

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The Detroit Pistons were so frustrated with the play of Josh Smith that they used the stretch provision in the league’s collective bargaining agreement to release him, which essentially meant paying him more than $27 million just to go away.

The Rockets, ever opportunistic, chose to add Smith to their roster for a little more than $2 million this season.

Smith scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds in his Houston debut, which resulted in a win over the Memphis Grizzlies. He was then given a spot in his new team’s starting lineup, but after producing little there in his last four games, Rockets head coach Kevin McHale sent him back to the bench.

After shooting a combined 9-of-31 in his last four contests, Donatas Montiejunas was re-inserted into the starting lineup for Houston’s home contest against the Heat on Saturday.

This is who Smith has become, at least to a certain extent. While his length and athleticism is something NBA front offices rightfully drool over, the reality is that the way he chooses to implement the talents that he possesses has done nothing more in recent seasons than provide utterly disastrous results.

In five games with the Rockets, Smith has averaged career lows in points (8.4) and rebounds (5.2), while shooting 34.6 percent from the field, and 12.5 percent from three-point distance. Houston is just 2-3 since adding Smith to the roster.