Reasons To Be Excited About Training Camp: No. 14 Jason Smith
No. 14: Jason Smith
The player who’s worn the No. 14 New Orleans uniform for the past three seasons has gained the respect and admiration of Crescent City fans for a variety of reasons. Jason Smith has never been afraid to dive on the floor for a loose ball, hustle on defense or do any of the little things that go undetected in the box score, but help a team win games. The 7-footer’s all-out style and willingness to sacrifice for his team were on full display last season, when he gamely played through a painful right shoulder injury, despite New Orleans being out of postseason contention. Smith eventually needed offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum, an injury that stemmed from him blocking a Kevin Durant dunk attempt on Dec. 12.
The personable Colorado native hopes to be 100 percent and medically cleared to play by the team’s trainers in time for the Oct. 1 start of training camp. He’s been a 7-foot bundle of energy lately in wanting to get back on the floor, but restricted to watching from the sideline as his teammates scrimmage during voluntary workouts.
The fourth-oldest member of the team, the 26-year-old represents the final remaining link to the initial season of the Dell Demps/Monty Williams era, the lone Pelican who was a member of New Orleans’ last playoff team in 2010-11. Every other current roster member was acquired in December 2011 or later.