Longest-tenured NOLA player Smith adds consistency

By: Brian Travis, Hornets.com

Enduring a draft-night trade, playing for four coaches in four NBA seasons (two as a rookie alone) and playing two years in both the Western and Eastern Conference – the career of Hornets big man Jason Smith has been nothing if not marked by perpetual change.

Now in his fifth season, the Colorado State product has the opportunity to give the New Orleans Hornets something that will be vital to the success of an organization defined by its youth: Consistency.

As the longest-tenured Hornet, Smith looks to be a pillar of the franchise both on and off the court. When asked what he can bring to the Hornets’ 2012-13 season, his response was simple but measured.

“The experiences that I’ve had,” Smith explained. “Winning seasons, losing seasons, it’s a long season. For the young guys to come in, they have to keep grinding. Whether it’s the first 30 games of the season, the last 30, or the middle part of the season. They’re going to have a learning curve and the faster they (the younger Hornets) figure it out, the better off we’ll be.”

In addition to the wisdom and experiences he brings to the table, Smith has the opportunity to deliver consistent scoring, rebounding and defense off the New Orleans bench. In each of his two seasons with the Hornets, the 7-footer has increased his scoring and rebounding totals. With 40 appearances in last year’s lockout-shortened season, Smith averaged 9.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game.

The Hornets forward/center spent the offseason improving his skills as well as working on his body through strengthening and conditioning. Fans of the Hornets have every reason to believe that Smith will bring invaluable production and leadership to a team that’s looking to turn its potential into solid performances – no matter what portion of the season it is.