Greg Smith has come a long way in a relatively short period, going from undrafted out of Fresno State to D-League All-Star to winning a roster spot in a crowded frontcourt and becoming the backup center on a Houston Rockets team that's become both an awesome nightly watch and, at the moment, the sixth seed in a very competitive Western Conference. But while the 21-year-old big man has been a revelation for the Rockets, hitting nearly 65 percent of his shots and averaging better than 16 points and 10 rebounds per 36 minutes, his game still needs some polishing.
One key area for development? Court awareness. Knowing where you are on the floor at all times is important at the highest level. Another? Self-awareness. Knowing your limitations — what you can and can't do on the floor — can be the difference between also-rans and All-Stars. During Wednesday night's game against the New Orleans Hornets, Smith took a step forward in both areas, learning A) that he can't tie his shoe in less than three seconds, and B) that if he's going to try, he shouldn't be in the paint while the Rockets have the ball:
Sure, you'd figure a player would have the "don't just kneel down in the lane and tie your shoe during a play" thing down by the time he got to the NBA, but hey, life is about learning, and we're betting coach Kevin McHale — who was pretty mortified by the whole thing — promptly took to instructing Smith about the dos and don'ts of the matter. Such is life with a young team, after all.
While this was the funniest thing that happened in Rockets/Hornets, it was not Smith's sole contribution — he also crammed one off a sweet no-look feed from Jeremy Lin all over New Orleans reserve big Jason Smith:
After the game, which the Rockets won 104-92 to improve to 18-14 on the season, he also offered a reasonably decent goof about the Smith-on-Smith violence:
A rare laugh, a big jam and a sound joke — that's about as productive as a three-point, four-rebound night gets, I think.
Hat-tip to the great Rockets lovers at ClutchFans.