Detroit Pistons: Top 10 moments from 2017-18 NBA season

Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images
Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images /
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(Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

10. The emergence of Ish Smith

A known journeyman for much of his career, guard Ish Smith was able to take a solidifying leap this season and found himself a possible forever home in Detroit. Smith, a career backup, was able to start 35 games on the season and played a full 82-game season for the first time in his career.

Carrying the weight of the backcourt in Reggie Jackson’s absence, Smith averaged 10.9 points, 4.4 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 24.9 minutes per game, the most for Smith since the 2015-16 season with the Philadelphia 76ers.

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A role player of sorts, Smith may have played his way into the starting lineup if the Pistons decide to part ways with Reggie Jackson and his lucrative contract, but more importantly, Smith showcased his talents to at least get some looks from the rest of the league.

Smith provided veteran leadership on the bench to the Pistons’ vibrant youth and in the locker room, but his on/off splits were remarkable for a player that has been a role player playing limited minutes most of his career. With Smith on the floor, the Pistons shot 52 percent from the field compared to 50.3 percent, the turnover percentage dropped from 16.4 percent to 14.5 percent and the team’s offensive rating jumped from 106.5 to 109.0. In 27 out of 82 games, Smith led the Pistons in assists to go along with 50 games of 10-plus points and three with 20 or more.

Helping out his team midseason in Jackson’s absence and increasing continuity after the Blake Griffin trade, Smith recorded his best game against the Miami Heat, scoring 25 points in 40 minutes and finished the last six games of the season averaging 13.2 points and 5.3 assists.

Smith will be entering his ninth season with the Pistons in 2018-19 with $6 million left on the books and become an unrestricted free agent in 2019 at the age of 30 years old. If he is able to play at the same level as he did this season, he will be in line for an extension with a slight increase and no longer have to be the journeyman of previous years.