Ish Smith Hopes To Stay With Sixers

by Andy Jasner

Ish Smith hopes to be back. He wants to be back.

For now, all he can do is wait and work.

Smith played 25 games for the 76ers, scored 301 points and dished out 152 assists. There were some very good moments in a brief stint which could turn out to be worth another contract as a point guard.

Time will tell.

The 26-year-old Smith is definitely an intriguing player. Even if it’s in a backup role.

“That’s OK with me,” Smith said. “I just surprised myself as a starter. I am not going to lie. I’m sure it surprised everybody in the NBA. Hopefully, wherever it might be, I am ready. I have a lot to work on, but I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know I have more that I can give. I’m not going to take much time off. I’m getting right back at it.”

The Sixers were Smith’s eighth NBA team since going undrafted out of Wake Forest in 2010.

Smith was one of 25 players to take the court for the Sixers this season. He was just happy to be one of them.

Whether he’s a member of the Sixers moving forward is anyone’s guess.

“I hope so,” Smith said. “I really like it here. I knew I had to play and work hard and not worry about all the other things. I figure that will all take care of itself. It was important to me to come in and do my work and take in everything the coaching staff was teaching me. I still have so much to learn.”

In his 677 minutes of playing time, Smith learned numerous lessons.

Like what?

“So much of it was on the defensive end,” Smith said. “Things like defending pick-and-rolls, working off screens, switches … the defensive part is the toughest part, I think, in the NBA. I feel like I improved so much in this aspect. On offense, how do you get the ball to players at the right time in the right position? Getting a lot of minutes helped. I want to get so much better this summer so I can come back stronger. I want to put myself in the best possible position to succeed.”

Staying sharp in the summer is important for players, especially those who have been on eight teams in a brief career. 

“I’m energized by playing and getting better,” Smith said. “I wanted to be an NBA player and with the work it took to get here, staying here is harder. It’s supposed to be hard. I want to improve and do whatever it takes to stay in this great league for as long as I can.”

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