Smith was most improved New Orleans player

Wednesday, May 2, 2012
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Hornets.com

Late in the season, a newspaper reporter asked Monty Williams to discuss some of the team’s most improved players, suggesting that any one of several young players could’ve potentially received that designation. Williams quickly responded, “It has to be Jason Smith.” The 7-foot power forward probably received as many compliments from Williams over the course as any player, with the second-year coach giving glowing assessments of Smith’s work ethic and commitment to getting better.

The result was a new-and-improved Jason Smith that would’ve been mostly unfamiliar to those who watched him play in the previous three years of his NBA career. With the 2011-12 season ending last week, it’s for us to look back at what took place as a new era began for the franchise. First up in the season reviews among players is Smith. Beyond what appeared in the Hornets.com season-review article, here are some additional quotes on the fourth-year pro:

MONTY WILLIAMS
On Smith’s impact:
“Any time you can get a guy like Jason on the floor, his energy, his spirit gives us a different dimension. He can shoot the ball, so you have to play him. He runs the floor better than any big we have. He knows what we do.”

CHRIS KAMAN
On what Smith brings to the team:
“I like his energy. He plays hard for us every night. You can’t say anything bad about him. He plays hard, works hard, plays when he’s hurt and battles through injuries. He doesn’t know how to quit.”

GREIVIS VASQUEZ
On Smith as a player:
“He does everything right. He’s so professional. He’s getting more minutes now. The NBA works in a weird way. Sometimes you can’t really show your game. Now he’s showing what he can do.”