The Detroit Pistons went 5-23 with Josh Smith on the roster. They have gone 13-7 since cutting him, including winning their first seven games in a row.
Saturday night Josh Smith and his new team the Houston Rockets came to Detroit, and Pistons fans let them know exactly how much they missed him.
Those are some homer Houston announcers (they are some of the more blatant in the league) trying to cover for Smith, although to be fair they are right in that the mistake was not Smith’s but Joe Dumars’. Stan Van Gundy fixed it and in doing so let Greg Monroe play his more natural game, where he has started to thrive. The Pistons’ offense has just flowed more naturally (at least before Brandon Jennings went down for the season).
Pistons fans booed Smith every time he touched the ball, and they savored every miss by him — of which there were plenty as he was 3-of-11. They cheered loudly when Andre Drummond blocked his shot. They nodded knowingly at his one missed three.
Smith’s response to the “love” from Detroit fans upon his return? Via Shawn Windsor of the Detroit Free Press:
“It’s really not emotional to me because I haven’t been here long enough to feel any sort of way,” said Smith, who signed with the Pistons in the off-season of 2013 from his hometown Atlanta Hawks. “The booing didn’t affect me.
“If you ask me something about Atlanta I’ll have a lot more to say about emotions.”
Smith has shot the ball a little better — not efficient but better — since signing with Houston. His game hasn’t really changed he’s but trying to make that work in a new role, and there have been moments. Good ones and bad ones. Smith realizes he’s part of a team that, if it can stay healthy, could be a threat in the loaded West. He is trying to make this new home work and is trying to move on, to be the key part of a bench on a potential contender. We’ll see how that plays out.
But for a night, the Pistons savored saying goodbye.