Charlotte Hornets Player Preview: What will Ish Smith contribute to the Hornets

Ish Smith, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Ish Smith, Charlotte Hornets (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

After 11 years, playing for 11 different teams, Ish Smith returns to the place he grew up to suit up for the Charlotte Hornets in the 2021-22 season.

Smith joins Charlotte after signing a 2-year deal with a team option in the second year. He joins the team as the Hornets’ answer to the hole at the backup point guard position that was created when the team decided not to match the offer sheet the Pelicans gave Devonte’ Graham.

Ish Smith will provide a veteran presence and efficient play for the Charlotte Hornets this season. 

Smith played 44 games for the Wizards last year. He averaged 6.7 points, 3.9 assists and 3.4 rebounds. He committed less than one turnover per game, giving him the second-highest assists-to-turnover ratio in the league at 4.2.

Look for Smith to be a vocal leader on and off the court for the Hornets. He is the oldest player on the team and a seasoned veteran in the league. When Smith signed with Charlotte, he made it clear he came to contribute to winning. He likes the young core the Hornets have and believes the team is a good fit for his playstyle.

"“Honestly, we played against [the Hornets] last year on three different occasions and the way they played – the young guys, the athletic ability, the speed, the way they share the basketball, shoot and then how they defend – it was fun. They were hard to guard. It was fun to watch them play against other teams, scouting them. Now being on this side, [with] the speed and the pace that I play at, I think it’s a great fit.” Smith said."

He is not flashy like many of the other players on the Hornets’ roster, but he is quick and moves the ball down the court well. He slices his way to the rim to get easy buckets, and last season he shot 36% from three, his career-best.

Smith will not be asked to score a bunch of points off the bench, nor should he be. His reason for being on the court is to play efficiently, run the offense and not turn the ball over, all tasks he is already accustomed to.

The addition of Smith will help the Hornets bench play clean basketball. He will look to set up his teammates with easy scoring opportunities and protect the basketball. He is a guy the Hornets will be able to count on to play his role.

Smith will be the backup point guard for at least this season and maybe the next. Fans should expect to see a seasoned player who fills his role the best he can when he is on the floor.

Charlotte Hornets Player Preview: Arnoldas Kulboka. light. Related Story