Smith saw action in 13 playoff games for the Cavaliers, averaging 5.5 points and 3.7 rebounds. For the season, he averaged 6.5 points and 4.7 rebounds while shooting nearly 50 percent (.496) from the floor.
Smith’s 14 years in the NBA give him experience and perspective that many of his new, and much younger, teammates will find valuable.
“Joe’s acquisition provides us with a solid complement to our frontcourt,” Hawks general manager Rick Sund said in a statement released by the team. “Not only does he bring years of experience to our team, but his versatility gives our coaching staff a player who can play multiple positions and an individual who will provide tremendous leadership in the locker room.”
At this stage of his career, Smith knows that his veteran leadership is a large part of his appeal.
“Being around different teams and different situations and players, all types of players,” Smith said, “I understand what it takes to be successful and consistent in this league. That’s the main thing right now for this team is putting together some consistent basketball for as much of the 82 games of the season as we can. The more consistent we can be the better we can be.”
Smith’s final decision came down to the Hawks and Cavaliers. And while his recent history with the Cavs made that option a viable one, the non-stop contact from Zaza Pachulia and the full-court press from the Hawks’ coaching and front-office staffs won him over in the end.
“Ultimately, it boiled down to the best role and best situation for me,” Smith said. “I think this was a perfect fit. We have a lot of young talent and a lot of guys that can go out on any given night and play well. But you still need a veteran on that team when things are going wrong that can be that voice.
“I’m excited about being that voice and helping transform all this talent into a consistent winner.”