2013-14 Season In Review: Jason Smith
Pelicans.com continues its look back at the 2013-14 season with player-by-player analysis of the team:
NBA experience: Six seasons (four with Pelicans)
Games played/started: 31/27
For a fourth straight season, Smith was a valuable New Orleans player when he was on the floor, providing the Pelicans with all-out hustle, timely scoring and effective shot-blocking and rebounding in the paint. Unfortunately for the 7-footer, for a third consecutive campaign, injuries curtailed his availability. Smith was limited to 31 games, prior to a season-ending knee injury in January. In 2012-13, he sat out the latter chunk of the season due to a shoulder injury, finishing with 51 appearances. During the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season, he played in 40 of 66 games.
Smith began 2013-14 penciled in as a reserve center, expected to join Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans as a key bench component, but that plan didn’t even last until Opening Night. Smith was elevated to the starting center spot for the final preseason game, then held that position until just before Christmas, when a knee issue sidelined him for three games. He came off the bench Dec. 28-Jan. 10 and missed four more games, prior to making three starts Jan. 11-15. A 10-point, six-rebound game vs. Houston on Jan. 15 was Smith’s last action of the season; three weeks later it was announced that he would undergo season-ending knee surgery.
Prior to injuries sidelining him, Smith was a consistent performer and enjoyed the best rebounding stretch of his career in early December. Over a four-game span, Smith averaged 12.8 boards, keying victories over Chicago and Detroit. Smith, who was acquired in a four-player trade with Philadelphia during the 2010 offseason, is a free agent this summer. He is the longest-tenured New Orleans player, the only member of the current roster who was part of the franchise’s 2011 Western Conference postseason berth.
TOP THREE JASON SMITH GAMES OF 2013-14
#3: Nov. 10, 2013 – New Orleans at Phoenix
Prior to anyone realizing exactly how formidable the Suns would be in 2013-14, Smith helped the Pelicans remain close all game in a 101-94 defeat, equaling his season high of 22 points. Smith was 9-for-12 from the field and sank all four of his free throws, while grabbing eight rebounds. He tallied 14 of the Pelicans’ 38 first-half points.
#2: Dec. 2, 2013 – New Orleans at Chicago
Smith established career highs in total rebounds (14) and offensive rebounds (7) in a 131-128 triple-overtime victory over the Bulls. He also scored a dozen points at the United Center. Like several of his Pelicans teammates, it was a long night of basketball for Smith, who logged 47 minutes despite it being the second game of a back-to-back.
#1: Dec. 11, 2013 – Detroit at New Orleans
The Pelicans improved to .500 at 10-10 after holding off the Pistons 111-106 in overtime. Smith registered the second 20-10 game of his career, piling up 22 points and a career-best 16 rebounds. It was the second time in nine days that Smith set a career high in boards. While battling Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe inside, Smith shot 8-for-14 from the field.