For un-drafted players, opportunities to make an impact at the NBA level usually come few and far between. Many spend years dwelling in the D-League or overseas, in hopes of securing a ten-day contract at basketball's highest level. In that regard, Sixers point guard Ish Smith has had an easier journey than some of his un-selected brethren.
While Smith was able to latch on with an NBA team as a rookie free agent out of Wake Forest in 2010, playing time is a luxury he had not seen in his first five NBA seasons. Now in Philadelphia, the Charlotte, North Carolina native feels he's finally getting the opportunity to prove his worth.
"People look at me like ‘Man, this is your fifth year,'" Smith said. "People don’t understand I haven’t played, so really being out there this is my second year...playing consistent minutes."
Smith began his career with Houston in the 2010 season, where he spent 26 games there before beginning his North American tour of teams. He spent time with seven different teams before landing in Philadelphia, never averaging more than 14.4 minutes per game in his frequent stops. The 26-year-old did his best to stay motivated despite the issues in securing a long-term home.
"You never get used it," Smith said about the constant change in teams. "But it happens, it’s the job, you keep moving.
"The next city is the next opportunity, that’s how you got to look at it. Once you get the opportunity to play you hope and pray God brings out your best gift, and that works."
It's an opportunity he received when Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie, who Smith got to know during his stint in Houston, claimed him off waivers on February 22.
"I’ve been the third point guard since I’ve been in the league, [Sam Hinkie] was like this was a great opportunity. Just go out there and do what you do."