1995 Draft- We're #1!!
NBA Source had to say:
1. Golden State--Joe Smith, PF, Maryland
10 Years: 12.7 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 45.1 FG%, 1.1 BPG
-1st Team All-Rookie in 1995-96
-Was involved in the most controversial contractual matter in NBA history--which has cost the Timberwolves a 1st round draft pick in each of the past 5 years.
Any #1 pick that will best be remembered for signing an illegal contract that broke the league's salary cap rules (what in the hell were the 'Wolves thinking in wanting to hand this guy over $86 million in the first place?!) has to be considered a huge bust. But aside from the incident, Smith never did live up to the expectations of a #1 draft pick. He peaked in his second season (18.7 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.1 BPG) and never came close to numbers like these after being shipped off to Philly at the trade deadline the following year. Smith has since spent his career as a serviceable, yet unspectacular power forward
Just for the record let's look at who the Warriors passed up:
- #2 Antonio McDyess
Before the unfortunate injuries McDyess was an EXPLOSIVE near elite power forward. Let's just say having McDyess wouldn't have been all that bad.
- #3 Jerry Stackhouse
A solid 20ppg scorer.
- #4 Rasheed Wallace
You probably remember this guy from this years finals... he's good AND crazy.
- #5 Kevin Garnett
10 years later passing KG for Joe Smith is embarrassing, but let's cut the Warriors a little break here. In 1995 KG was the first high schooler to come straight to the league since Moses Malone, so NBA GM's were treading unfamiliar territory. At this point it was pretty much unheard of to go the high school route. Many people forget that Joe Smith was actually less than a year older than KG. So who would you take? The young guy who tore it up against other high schoolers or the young guy who had a great season against college hoopsters? Okay, enough with the excuses-- can you imagine what the past 10 years as a Warriors fan would be like with KG?
- #7 Damon Stoudamire
He's no superstar, but he did start for the Blazers this past year. Can you believe he took the Rookie of the Year honors for the 1995 class?
- #9 Ed O'Bannon
Okay, just joking. Ordinary Joe definitely had a more "illustrious career."
- #10 Kurt Thomas
The man's solid and if the Knicks-Suns trade goes through we're going to find that out firsthand on more than one occasion this season.
- #13 Corliss Williamson
If only Joe Smith had a little "Big Nasty" in him.
- #15 Brent Barry
I'm actually a little surprised the Warriors didn't go after this Slam Dunk Champion/ 3 Point Shootout Champ. They could have gone back to their Barry roots. You know looking back it's a little strange the Warriors didn't take him #1 overall. He's Mike Dunleavy on steroids. Okay, that's probably not strong enough- Brent Barry has been a solid pro, while Dunleavy has well... done-nuthin.
- #18 Theo Ratliff
Shot blocking MACHINE! A great defensive player and a very limited offensive one.
- #21 Michael Finley
A pretty nice All Star SG for most of the past 10 years.
- #28 Greg Ostertag
Okay, maybe I'm pushing it on this one, but you could make an argument he's had a better NBA career than Joe Smith.
- #43 Eric Snow
A pretty solid passing and great defending PG. Most guys don't mind having someone like Snow on their team.
There you have it Warriors nation- 12 better players the Warriors passed up on when they "won the lottery." This qualifies as bad, Michael Olowokandi bad.
So the big question remains- why didn't Joe Smith develop into a good NBA player? Why did he turn out to be "Just an Ordinary Joe"? He was a young (just a little bit older than KG), athletic player. At the top pick people were debating between Joe Smith, Stack, and Rasheed so it's not like Joe Smith was a ridiculous pick. Coaching? Did Joe just not have the desire? Bad losing atmosphere? The Warriors world will never know.