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It's nice to see Smits getting some recognition. We all realize what we had when Smits got then ball 8-10 feet with his back to the basket or when he got the ball facing the basket from the elbow of the lane. He had some of the best footwork with the ball of any center of the last 20 years. Pretty mini-hook. Nice jump shoot. If you want to call it a jump shot. He hardly had to jump. Of his time, I'd take Smits behind O'Neal, Olajuwon, Robinson, and Ewing, and Mourning. I'd personally take him ahead of Mutombo. The only knock I have on Smits is that he wasn't athletic or fit enough to play more minutes per game.
Gilmore, Parish, and Malone belong in that elite class, but there are other guys of the last 30 years in the next class with Smits that I think really deserve some recogntion that don't get noticed much: Jack Sikma and Alvan Adams.
Detlef was a freak on the court, he really stuffed the stats. Awesome player in his prime.
Smits was a guy I always loved. When fans hated him early on I already liked what he had to offer. He was no rebounder, but he was the kind of post scorer you could really build an offense off of, if not around. He's a big reason why I don't mind JO taking jumpers. If you can hit them, hit them. In the end the goal is to put the ball in the hoop from wherever you can make it from.
Smits was one of my favorite players to watch during his career. He was always the focus of the opposition. It is easy to forget about him now if you were not a Pacers fan, but I bet if you ask coaches that coached at that time they would tell you their game plan was to get Smits out of the action quickly. If he got it going, the Pacers were just about unbeatable.
He had great post moves, good footwork, and a deadly jump shot. He was great in the pick n pops/fades. Foul trouble really affected his career. Later his feet failed him, but fouling was his enemy. Just walking on the court earned Smits a foul. When the refs let him play he had some great battles with Ewing and Young Shaq. Fans probably spent too much time worrying about his rebounding. It is similar to worrying about Foster's offense. Just not meant to be, and if it was there... bonus.
I remember the 1st run with Larry Brown in 94 where we played ATL in the 2nd round. They were the 1 seed and Smits destroyed Koncack in that series. It was as ugly as it could get for an opposing center. That really took the life out of Atlanta. They couldn't guard Smits with one guy, but they tried. When they doubled it got worse. He was the MVP of that series that really sparked a long successful run.