Joe Smith to Sign with Nets

After losing big man Sean May to injury earlier in the week, it appears Joe Smith, the power forward most associated with having the words "former No. 1 pick" written before his name every time somebody writes about him, will sign a deal with the New Jersey Nets

The power forward averaged 3.0 points and 2.5 rebounds for the Atlanta Hawks last year. He'll have trouble breaking into a Nets rotation - he's likely to back up spryer bigs in Troy Murphy, Derrick Favors, and even Kris Humphries at the four spot, but he can still be a dependable big man, even now in the twilight of his career.

People often mock Smith as a No. 1 overall pick - in the 1995 draft, he went immediately head of four future all-stars in Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace, Antonio McDyess, and Jerry Stackhouse - because of the rather mundane nature of his career - he hasn't averaged above 15 points since his days third year in the league. But truth be told, he's been nothing if not servicable, averaging 11.1 points over the course of a 15-year career. He's got an effective mid-range jumper that got him into the rotation with the Cleveland Cavaliers a few years back. But his most likely effect will be that of a mentor on one of the least experienced teams in the league: other than Smith, the most experienced player on the team is the 26-year old Travis Outlaw, who is entering his seventh year in the league - Smith almost doubles him up on the dawn of his 16th year.

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